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The State of Our Parks: Can Arkansas’ turnaround be a roadmap for Mississippi?

Aug 30, 2021

screen_shot_2021-08-30_at_11_11_31_pm.pngPublished: Aug. 26, 2021 at 6:51 PM EDT

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - One disturbing fact that came out of the May PEER report on the State of our Parks was that many Mississippians are going to neighboring state parks to do their camping because of the declining condition of our facilities.

One of those neighbors is Arkansas, so we decided to take a road trip and investigate. Our trek started at Parkin Archeological State Park. We then traveled to Village Creek State Park. Our journey ended at the relatively new Mississippi River State Park.

Ben Swadley, Superintendent of Parkin Archeological State Park said, ”Well, this is a day use park....and we’re at a visitors center...”

Our first stop was Parkin, Arkansas, where state officials wanted us to see a day use facility. It’s a popular destination for many, including bus loads of school children. When they come here, they get a movie and an interactive history lesson on the Delta region of eastern Arkansas. Our interview with State Parks Director Grady Spann was conducted inside the restored, historic Northern Ohio School, a rare one-room school house for African Americans dating back to the 1900s.

From here, we take a 20-minute ride to Wynne, Arkansas. That’s the location of Village Creek State Park. It’s almost 7,000 acres of natural beauty, dotted with state-of-the-art lodging to fit budgets both big and small.

To get an up close and personal idea of what cabins are like, here, park officials invited us to stay in one of their upscale cabins and check out the amenities. It’s a rustic setting, but has all the modern things many expect for a comfortable stay these days: fresh looking exterior and on the inside, no rust on the appliances. There are keyless entry door locks and even custom-made mattresses with warranties.

Full report and video here Watch the video for details and more complete info.