NORTH LITTLE ROCK Ark.; (KTHV) - Summer is typically a camp sites busiest time, with people camping out in the woods and swimming in the lakes. But, that doesn't seem to be the case this summer.
"I like the outdoors and different sights." Carroll Tackett has been camping for nearly 40 years. "We do some camping in other states too but we like to stay in Arkansas, there are beautiful sites here." But those sites aren't as crowded. "It's mainly due to the heat and this drought that we've been having."
Park Ranger Caleb Brunson says Willow Beach Park has 22 campsites but only 6 are occupied, which is not common for their typically busiest time of year.
"They can grill but as far as having campfires that's banned with the burn ban but as far as grilling, they can grill."
Few campers also mean less revenue for the parks. "We are pretty much a nonprofit organization so it doesn't really hurt us for the most part but we would like to see more people out." While Brunson says they don't have as many campers, they do have more day visitors.
"It's too hot for tents right now." Debbie Lewis says it's too hot for her family to stay all night but they can still enjoy a day outside. "We brought hot dogs and we are going to grill and make a picnic out of it." But for long time campers like Tackett, the heat will not keep him from spending his summer outdoors. "It's been hot for several summers but this is one of the worst because it's lasted so long."
Ranger Brunson is over 11 parks and he estimates they are hosting about 20 percent fewer campers. We also spoke with workers from Ozark and Ouachita Forrest, they too say they have many open campsites.