Moro State Park in Bradley County has been named the Region 4 Park of the Year Award. It is among five Arkansas State Parks recognized for going “above and beyond” and performing in a superior manner.

The Mississippi River State Park took home the top award of 2019 Park of the Year in the Arkansas State Park system. Moro Bay State Park, along with DeGray Lake Resort, Historic Davidsonville, and Lake Dardanelle state parks won regional Park of the Year awards.

Moro Bay staff provides excellent hospitality and an incredible experience to its visitors along the banks of the Ouachita River in South Arkansas allowing them to form personal connections to the resource and the park. They also maintain a superior standard in resource management.

“The staff we have at Moro Bay is truly exceptional. In fiscal year 19, despite nine months of moderate flooding, the park set a record in our attendance for our fall cross country event and reached a record in total revenues. Our interpretive staff presented 254 programs,” said Moro Bay State Park Superintendent Paul Butler. “Guests rave about the cleanliness of our cabins, the tidiness of the grounds, and the condition of our facilities. This doesn’t happen without dedicated maintenance, housekeeping, and visitor center employees committed to serving those who visit the park whatever their reason. We have learned that partnering with local volunteers, agencies, professionals, and schools is also a key to the park’s success, so we seize every opportunity to do so.”

Moro Bay staff members also make substantial contributions to the Natural Resources Inventory Database (NRID). They contribute records and photos of flora and fauna found within the park. NRID plays a vital role in the management of Arkansas State Parks natural resources. For example, NRID allows park staff to create custom checklists for birders and wildflower lovers, so they have an opportunity to explore and make discoveries of their own. It also helps students better understand species and where they occur in habitat.

Efficiency is key to maintaining a state park. Park staff saw a need and built new metal firewood racks with wheels that can be lifted by a front-end loader and moved. This creative solution allows staff to load and move firewood without having to handle it more than one time.

Moro Bay State Park Superintendent Paul Butler serves on Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s Arkansas Feral Hog Eradication Task Force and the Arkansas State Parks Feral Hog Task Force. Butler developed a standard operating procedure for the park system’s trapping program and remains in communication with the state park director’s office with updates on the program and effectiveness.

“Feral hogs are considered an animal nuisance species and cause millions of dollars in damage in Arkansas and more than a billion dollars nationwide each year,” Spann says. “Thankfully, the Arkansas Legislature and Governor Hutchinson created this task force that unites several state agencies and organizations together to fight this problem. Paul is playing an important role in representing Arkansas State Parks and leading our effort to eradicate feral hogs in our parks and to assist other stakeholders to be effective in their efforts to do the same.”