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Arkansas State Park officials prepare for influx spring break weekend

This time last year there was a hesitancy in getting out for spring break during the pandemic. This year, state parks expect a lot more foot traffic.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — This time last year there was a hesitancy in getting out for spring break during the pandemic. This year, case numbers for COVID-19 are down and with vaccinations going up, state park officials say they're expecting to be busy for spring break.

Meg Matthews is the deputy director of communications for the Arkansas Department of Parks Heritage and Tourism. She says spring break is a great time for families to get out and enjoy the parks.

"We're hoping for really good weather throughout Spring Break, but just keep in mind we can only allow as many people as we have capacity for," said Matthews.

She says parking can be limited. 

If there are not any spots in certain areas, that area of the park is at capacity. Parking outside of parking spots is not allowed.

Caleb Parker is a park ranger for Pinnacle State Park. 

He says they're expecting double the number of people this weekend. On a normal weekend with good weather, they could see close to 3,000 people.

"We're making sure that we have plenty of people on duty. Making sure that we've got all of our rangers out and about. You'll see a lot of us in parking lots directing traffic. This year what we'll expect, just like every year during Spring Break, is hard to find parking spots," said Parker.

He says they're prepared medically as well in case of an emergency.

Bringing plenty of water is key when wanting to hike or climb at state parks.

"If you have any pets make sure they've got water. It's a hard hike on the mountain. So make sure you keep that in mind. An animal doesn't cool down like a human does," said Parker.

Matthews adds that if you haven't been as active, you should take it easy on your body when getting out for physical activity.

If one park is too full, she's encouraging people to explore other state parks.

"Look at it as an opportunity. Maybe go discover another Arkansas state park. We have 52. One for each week of the year if you think about it like that. You can create new memories," said Matthews.