Mount Magazine State Park has been selected as the recipient of the 2012-2013 Region 5 Park of the Year and Outstanding Resource Management Award by Arkansas State Parks, according to State Parks Director Greg Butts.
Mount Magazine State Park is located 16 miles south of Paris on Scenic Highway 309 and is one of the 52 state parks operated by the State Parks Division, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.
The State Parks Division presents awards annually for park excellence within Arkansas’s state parks system. The awards were announced at the annual business meeting of the park superintendents. This year’s meeting was held September 24-26 at Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View.
The 2012-2013 awards honor the Park of the Year, five region winners, and awards for outstanding park maintenance, hospitality, volunteer program, resource management, interpretive program, and special event.
Director Butts noted, “Visitor comments, maintenance and operations, budget management, revenue production, interpretive program development, volunteer program activities, community public relations, resource management and many other factors are considered in selecting the award recipients.”
Mount Magazine State Park is the Region 5 winner of the Park of the Year and the Outstanding Resource Management award. The four other parks in Region 5 are Ozark Folk Center State Park at Mountain View; Petit Jean State Park near Morrilton; DeGray Lake Resort State Park near Bismarck; and Queen Wilhelmina State Park near Mena.
Greg Butts said, “Superintendent Becky Bariola and the staff at Mount Magazine State Park bring credit to the state of Arkansas with their outstanding work and accomplishments. These awards recognize their efforts, the public’s response to those efforts, and focuses on their exemplary work in all areas of park management and hospitality over the past year.”
Recognizing Mount Magazine State Park for its outstanding fiscal year efforts, Mr. Butts noted that revenues at the park increased to a total of $4.3 million or 2% more for FY13 while expenses were under budget. Impacting the increase were group sales at the lodge and more lodge related special events and activities.
Numerous major maintenance projects were completed throughout the park by staff, saving dollars.
A large and significant part of the day-to-day operations of Mount Magazine State Park is focused on the cultural and natural resource management and protection concerns, which are addressed through careful and thoughtful management, park stewardship, and public interpretive programs. The staff are constantly looking and observing to see where they can better interpret and protect the park’s natural resources. Several major resource management projects were completed in FY13 including documenting a new species of butterfly for the Arkansas list, banding and releasing of hummingbirds, the discovery of a large roosting area for bald eagles, capturing video of at least eleven bears, and assisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other state and federal agencies with the delisting of the of the Magazine Mountain Shagreen form the endangered species listing. The Townsend Solitaire and White-Throated Swift were also discovered and documented at the park, adding two more bird records to Arkansas’s list.
Volunteers and partners play an important role and include Boy Scouts, Logan County Master Gardeners, Arkansas Master Naturalists, Mount Magazine Action Group, and others.
The staff at Mount Magazine State Park shares one common goal – to serve the guests at the park. Management strives to hire employees who exhibit good interpersonal communication skills and supervisors monitor the treatment of visitors and make corrections when needed. Comment cards are a significant way that visitors share their opinions about the park. One comment most received is that staff spends time with each guest and makes their visit personal. Going one step further than expected is their goal. Mount Magazine State Park is setting a high bar for service and hospitality. As an example, one wedding group responded, “We had a wonderful time! The honeymoon suite was amazing and we hope to return every year. The food was great, the people were great. It was a positive experience all the way around.” The park received the 2013 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor.
Along with Mount Magazine State Park, other Arkansas State Parks Park of the Year Award winners’ for 2012-2013 were: Region 1 Park of the Year—Lake Dardanelle State Park at Russellville; Region 2 Park of the Year – Bull Shoals-White River State Park at Bull Shoals; Region 3 Park of the Year—Village Creek State Park near Wynne; and Region 4 Park of the Year – Historic Washington State Park at Washington.
Other award winners were: Outstanding Park Maintenance—Davidsonville Historic State Park near Pocahontas; Outstanding Interpretive Program—Ozark Folk Center State Park at Mountain View; Outstanding Hospitality – DeGray Lake Resort State Park near Bismarck; Outstanding Volunteer Program – Historic Washington State Park at Washington; and Outstanding Special Event – Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park’s “150th Anniversary of the Battle of Prairie Grove.”
For further information, contact: Greg Butts, Director, Arkansas State Parks, One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201 / Phone: (501) 682-7743 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or Superintendent Becky Bariola, Mount Magazine State Park, 16878 Highway 309 South, Paris, Arkansas 72855 / Phone: (479) 963-8502 / E-mail: email@example.com.