by: Scott McCaulley
One concern shared by both Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Missouri Governor Mike Parson during the Press Conferences Tuesday afternoon was the number of people that were visiting State and National Parks that were not observing the Small Gathering and Social Distancing Guidelines set-up during the spread of the COVID-19 Virus.
Governor Hutchinson said that he was considering measures that would close some State Parks and limit out of state visitors as he believes that is where a lot of the problem with big crowds stems. The Arkansas Times reported Monday that residents of Newton County has circulated a Petition asking the Governor to not encourage outdoor visitors due to the massive number of people that visited the Buffalo National River this past weekend. Hutchinson did mention the Buffalo National River as one of the problem areas. Park officials did announce the closure of the Overnight Campground at Buffalo National River as of Monday, transitioning that area into Day Use only.
Meanwhile Governor Parson has announced the closure of several State Parks in Missouri due to overcrowding conditions, though none are in the Lakes Region or Southwest Missouri. Last week, Park Officials did close State Run Campgrounds.
Both Hutchinson and Parson do encourage people that can to get outside and be active but to observe Social Distancing and Gathering Guidelines to help contain the spread of the Coronavirus.