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Bass Pro founder committed to restoring former Dogpatch USA park

“We’re going to take our time to restore the site, dream big and imagine the possibilities to help more families get back to nature."

NEWTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — According to Bass Pro Shops, founder Johnny Morris has announced the purchase of the former Dogpatch USA theme park in Newton County.

The former Dogpatch USA park is a 400-acre natural setting.

Specific plans for the property are still in the early stages, according to Bass Pro, but any future development will be an extension of Morris' signature experiences that helps families connect with nature and each other.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to restore, preserve and share this crown jewel of Arkansas and the Ozarks so everyone can further enjoy the wonderful region we call home,” said Morris, a lifelong resident of Springfield, Missouri. “We’re going to take our time to restore the site, dream big and imagine the possibilities to help more families get back to nature through this historic and cherished place.” 

The site is located near the Buffalo National River -- a popular spot for tourists to visit for float trips, fishing, camping, and mountain biking.

The Dogpatch USA property is a scenic 35-minute drive from Big Cedar Lodge, just north of the Missouri-Arkansas state line.

The property formally known as Dogpatch USA was constructed in 1967 and operated as a theme park, featuring a trout farm, horseback rides, and amusement rides and attractions.

The height of the property's popularity was in the 60s, when the property attracted 300,000 annual visitors. Attendance gradually declined before its closure in 1993, according to Bass Pro. 

Bass Pro says the top priority for the future of the property is to restore the large natural spring and bring life back to the renowned trout hatchery and many future fishing opportunities.