Expect increased patrols at Lake Hamilton, other state parks this weekend

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — If you are heading out to Lake Hamilton this weekend, expect to see more officers on the water.

“Garland County has asked us to help them out patrolling the lakes,” Trey Reid said.

Trey Reid, spokesperson for Arkansas Game and Fish, said officers will be out to remind people to follow public health guidelines.

“We won’t be able to write tickets for people getting too close to one another or anything like that and don’t want to,” he said.

They will mostly be patrolling areas and hot spots where people are known to link their boats together. Reid said this is a chance to inform the public about the importance of social distancing.

The Camden County Health Department in Missouri confirmed Friday a positive COVID-19 case visited multiple crowded pools and bars at the Lake of the Ozarks during Memorial Day weekend. Reid wants people to avoid situations like this. The person started developing symptoms on Sunday.

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“Do the right thing when you’re out there, practice responsible outdoor recreation,” he said.

If you’re planning on hiking a popular trail like Pinnacle Mountain, expect that you might have to turn around because overcrowding will not be allowed.

“We can only allow as many people in the park as there are parking space,” Meg Matthews said.

Once the parking lot fills up at Pinnacle Mountain, the gate will be closed. The overflow parking lot will also be closed off and cars cannot park on the side of the road.

“Our rangers and staff employees can ticket those cars if they do so,” Matthews said.

Spokesperson Meg Matthews said Arkansas State Parks has also closed down the Cedar Falls trail at Petit Jean Mountain.

“That is one of the trails people really enjoy hiking,” she said.

Park Rangers at every state park will be looking out for people not practicing social distancing.

“We just ask that people use their common sense and if they drive by and the gate is closed, then maybe this is the time to find another place to take a hike,” Matthews said.

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