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State Park wins Park of the Year

Mount Magazine State Park has been selected as the recipient of the 2012-13 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 of the 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 Sept. 24-26 at Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View.

The 2012-13 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.

“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,” Butts said.

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.

“Superintendent Becky Bariola and the staff at Mount Magazine State Park bring credit to the state of Arkansas with their outstanding work and accomplishments,” Butts said. “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, Butts noted that revenues at the park increased to a total of $4.3 million or 2 percent more for Fiscal Year 2013 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.

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. 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.

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