Cane Creek State Park has been selected as the recipient of the 2014-2015 Region 3 Park of the Year Award by Arkansas State Parks, according to State Parks Director Greg Butts.
Cane Creek is one of 13 parks in Region 3. The other 12 are Arkansas Post Museum State Park near Gillett, Crowley’s Ridge State Park near Paragould, Delta Heritage Trail State Park at Barton, Herman Davis State Park at Manila, Hampson Archeological Museum State Park at Wilson, Lake Chicot State Park at Lake Village, Lake Frierson State Park near Jonesboro, Lake Poinsett State Park near Harrisburg, Louisiana Purchase State Park at Brinkley, Mississippi River State Park near Marianna, Parkin Archeological State Park at Parkin, and Village Creek State Park near Wynne.
Cane Creek State Park is located five miles east of Star City on Ark. 293 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’ state parks system. The awards recognize the overall park of the year, five region winners, outstanding park maintenance, hospitality, volunteer program, resource management, interpretive program, and special event. The awards were announced at the annual business meeting of the park superintendents at DeGray Lake Resort State Park near Bismarck.
“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. “Superintendent Walt Reding and the staff at Cane Creek State Park bring credit to the State of Arkansas with their accomplishments and dedicated work. This award recognizes their efforts, the public’s response to those efforts, and focuses on their exemplary work in all areas of park management over the past year.”
Camping use was down considerably in September, November and December due to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission lake drawn down to mark boat lanes. And with the extreme rains in March and April, camping use decreased over the previous year by .3 percent, but that did not deter the staff from implementing other revenue generating projects and programs. Special events were up 22 percent and interpretive programing increased 2.1 percent. The annual Ghost Roast had its best year ever increasing 37 percent over last year.
More than 959 interpretive programs and events were presented by the park staff setting a record with over 3,000 students and 17,555 participants in all programs. Special events,including day camps, fishing derbies, boaters education, Five Dollar 5K, Halloween Ghost Roast, First Day Hike, and Tour of the East can be credited for a successful programming year.
Cane Creek State Park staff are dedicated to providing the best hospitality to park visitors, helping them make memories that last a lifetime. Park staff provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for each guest and make all of them feel like family. Overall park visitation increased 49 percent over last year.
Cane Creek State Park has a very strong maintenance program. The talented staff take pride in their work whether cleaning restrooms or picking up litter in the park. The maintenance staff completed numerous in-house maintenance projects which included replacing several signs in the park and on the trail, reinstalling the heater in the men’s room, addressing water drainage issues, repairs to the lift station, replaced the foot bridge by the visitor center, cleared 20 miles of trail, and converted the superintendent’s residence lighting to LED. Collectively their efforts saved funds.
The park volunteer program saw 403 volunteers in FY15 for a total of 1,983 hours of donated labor, valued at over $42,000. Volunteers are an integral part of Cane Creek State Park. The assistance from volunteers is invaluable during the parks larger events. Volunteers also assist with litter control, programming and maintenance.
Along with Cane Creek State Park, other award winners were Devil’s Den State Park, Region 1 Park of the Year; Powhatan Historic Park, Overall Park of the Year and the Region 2 Park of the Year; Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources at Smackover, Region 4 Park of the Year; DeGray Lake Resort State Park, Region 5 Park of the Year.
Other award winners were Mammoth Spring State Park at Mammoth Spring, Outstanding Park Maintenance and Hospitality; Historic Washington State Park at Washington, Outstanding Volunteer Program; Moro Bay State Park, Resource Management; Arkansas Museum of Natural Resources at Smackover, Interpretive Program; and Powhatan Historic State Park, Outstanding Special Event for “Trial by Jury.”