Buffalo National River closed to visitors to slow spread of coronavirus

Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 8:49 AM CDT
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The Buffalo National River branch chief of interpretation announced Thursday the river will be closed until further notice.

That includes the actual Buffalo River, trails, open spaces, and campgrounds.

This decision comes after people who live in the Newton County area voiced their concerns about having so many people from out-of-state gathering by the river and trails. Thousands of people even signed a petition asking the governor to close the park.

The park said the health and safety of the visitors, employees, volunteers, communities and partners is its priority.

In a statement, Buffalo National River Superintendent Mark Foust said, “It breaks my heart to have to close this incredible public park. It is, however, the right thing to do to protect the people that work here, live here, visit here, and love this place. We all have to do what we can to slow and prevent the spread of the virus in and around the park. We believe this will help. I am thankful to the people of Newton, Searcy, Marion, and Baxter Counties, who everyday share the river with us and support visitors from all over the country and the world. I look forward to the time we can all welcome visitors back to the Buffalo, sharing the river and the experiences we all know to be good for our minds and bodies.”

State highways and county roads that run through Buffalo National River will remain open to through or residential traffic. Roads that enter and end within the park are closed to all but residential traffic.

The Buffalo National River will notify the public when it can open the park and will provide updates on their website at www.nps.gov/buff and through social media channels.