Park officials are discouraging sightseers from visiting the Buffalo National River Park in northern Arkansas while repair and cleanup work from last week’s ice storm continues, according to the Associated Press.
Some areas of the park have been closed and access is restricted in other places because of safety concerns. The roads are not yet suitable for normal park use, and all of the park trails are blocked with downed trees or tree limbs. The park bathrooms are closed and there is no electricity. Some campgrounds are open but those are sites without facilities.
“The parks are in bad shape, almost like a hurricane blew through here. As far as ice storms go, this is the worst I’ve seen in my life,” said Alan Bland, park ranger at Beaver Lake Campground.
At Horseshoe Bend, limbs are down everywhere, some roads are impassable, and campgrounds are closed because of danger overhead, according to KHBS/KHOG-TV Ch. 40/29, Fort Smith, Ark.
“Huge limbs are still hanging. We call them ‘widow makers’ because they could fall and kill someone. We also have power lines down in some of the parks,” Bland said.
Bland said early estimates put the cleanup cost in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But the goal is to get the parks cleaned up in time for the spring rush.
“It’s going to be several months before it’s cleaned up, but we’re gonna work on it just as quick as we can,” Bland said.