The outdoor recreation industry saw a boom in interest as more people looked for safe activites to do during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now stores and service providers are preparing to meet more demand in 2021.
Following a record year as more people jumped at the chance to spend time outdoors during the pandemic, Arkansas State Parks is cutting back hours and operations at its visitor centers, museums, restaurants and two marinas in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
About seven miles of new soft-surface trails have opened at Fayetteville's Millsap Mountain while the rest of the development of Centennial Park continues. The trails can be used by hikers and trail runners, but they are specifically optimized for mountain bikes. The open portions of the park include both beginner and intermediate trails.
A new 30-acre whitewater park is coming to the Arkansas-Oklahoma border just south of Siloam Springs. The WOKA Whitewater Park will be constructed on the Illinois River at the site of the old Lake Frances spillway in Oklahoma. It will include a 1,200-foot long, 100-foot wide side channel with eight drop-features to create wave actions for kayakers, surfers and tubers of all skill levels.
A recent report commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation indicates more people are biking, running and walking on Northwest Arkansas's trails, especially on the Razorback Regional Greenway, which stretches through Benton and Washington Counties.