HOT SPRINGS (KTHV) - Arkansas state parks are gearing up for a busy holiday weekend. But this time around, there are some changes because of our recent storms.
One of the changes we knew going into this story but the other we came across after meeting a camper at Lake Catherine State Park Friday afternoon. She was enjoying a camping tradition back in place for some state parks this Labor Day weekend.
"Look at the little ducks sticking their heads in there," said Camper Gail Owens.
Gail Owens enjoys some of the scenery at Lake Catherine State Park Friday. It's not anything new here but what is on this trip is her camp fire.
"It's wonderful, been waiting a long time for this and we finally got it," Owens said.
"This is the first decent rain that we've had where the county has actually lifted it and we've lifted our burn ban in the park so they can have fires throughout the weekend," Park Superintendent Richard Boyes said.
Park Superintendent Richard Boyes says that this week's storms makes this weekend the first time all season that campfires are now allowed at Lake Catherine.
Boyes also says the stormy weather cancelled camping reservations during a weekend that's usually booked a year out.
"A lot of times we don't actually know that they are not coming until they don't show up the next day," Boyes said.
So that means there could be an extra spot here if you reserve soon. And Boyes says that the weekend's shaping up to a good one.
"We don't anticipate any problems as far as the weather goes; if it stays like this the rest of the weekend, it will be beautiful and we'll have a lot of folks," Boyes said.
Owen plans to stay for the weekend.
"Oh yes, this is a beautiful park and people should come here," Owens said.
And enjoy a return to the camping landscape.
"When I got up this morning and found out the burn ban had been lifted, on with the fire," Owens said.
We also called Lake DeGray, Lake Ouchita and Wooley Hollow State Park and workers there all told us that campfires are now allowed.
State park and tourism officials also confirmed the rise in camping cancellations; many they say from out of state guests leading up to the storm.
As a final reminder, if you want to call for a reservation, Superintendent Boyes at Lake Catherine says to call by 8 a.m. the day before to see if there are any spots.