LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- With many Arkansas schools getting out earlier than normal this year, tourism season will pick up.
Arkansas parks and lakes will see tourists earlier than normal this year. Many schools will be getting out before or around Memorial Day. Heber Springs saw more than a half a million people visit the area last year despite the lakes being high.
Business owners hope this early start to tourist season could break last year's numbers.
It's quiet and a little slow on Greers Ferry Lake, but just wait. Nina Anderson and her workers at Eden Isle Marina have less than two weeks to prepare before the rush.
"It is better for us. The season starts earlier and we will have a longer season," says Anderson.
It's an early start because many schools like the Bryant School District are letting out May 24. A state law required schools to start no later than August 19, forcing Anderson to get her ducks in a row sooner.
"We do have seasonal staff we hire. Mostly college or high school students," says Anderson.
Eden Isle Marina touts as being the largest marina on the lake with 900 slips.
"We have our new pontoons. Our new fleet and we need to get them cleaned and ready to go for our rental customers," says Anderson.
Customer service is key to their success of nearly 50 years in business. It also brings back Bob Hoffman and his dog Ruby every year.
"There are lots of marinas, but this is a full service. There are a lot of good people. They wait on you and take care of you," says Bob Hoffman.
Just as the lake will fill up, the town of more than 7,000 people will see more traffic. As an area that relies on tourism dollars, Anderson is fine with that.
Hotels are already seeing customers calling in for reservations this summer. The manager at Red Apple Inn says they're stay offering customers the second night half off between now and May 24th.
Greers Ferry is located on the Little Red River.
There are 1,146 square miles of drainage area above the dam.
Construction of the dam began in March 1959 and was completed Juy 1964. Cost was about $46 million.
The dam is 1,704 feet long, 2453 feet tall
856,000 cubic yards of concrete in dam
Record catches are a common occurrence at Greers Ferry, which abounds in walleye, bream, crappie, catfish, rainbow trout, smallmouth Kentucky and hybrid bass as well as largemouth and white bass. The Little Red River below Greers Ferry Dam is a world-class fishery for German brown and rainbow trout.