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story.lead_photo.caption National Park Service employee Derrick Pickens trims the grass at Gulpha Gorge Campground on Thursday, in preparation for the area reopening. - Photo by Grace Brown of The Sentinel-Record

Gulpha Gorge Campground and public restrooms on Bathhouse Row will reopen today as the phased reopening of Hot Springs National Park continues.

When day-use areas of the park reopened last week, Jori Welchans, the park's chief of interpretation, said the only thing preventing the campground from reopening was a lack of personal protective equipment.

A news release on Thursday said restrooms will be closed on a rotating basis to allow for proper cleaning.

"We're very excited," Welchans said.

"We continue to coordinate our phased approach to be in alignment with our state and federal agency partners and the Arkansas Department of Health. We are happy to welcome campers back to the park and ask that everyone do their part to follow state and federal guidance to protect themselves and others from the spread of disease," Superintendent Laura Miller said in the release.

All 40 campsites are now open, as is the day-use area in the campground. As for what campers can expect when they get to Gulpha Gorge, "it'll be just like normal, just like it used to be," Welchans said.

The one exception, she said, is they will keep one restroom closed at all times. There are three restrooms in the campgrounds, but one will always be closed, so that it can air out and be disinfected, she said.

The campsites are "first-come, first-serve," and Welchans said they are allowing both tents and RVs back in the campgrounds, which will be open seven days a week, and cost $30 a night. Campers with a park pass get 50% off.

The campsites will likely fill up, Welchans said, noting, "People have been clamoring to be here." She said they have received a lot of phone calls asking about the campgrounds.

Welchans said the park "strongly encourages" visitors to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations such as wearing a mask and keeping a social distance of 6 feet between visitors.

Bathhouse Row restrooms are also reopening to visitors today. Welchans said since there is only one men's and one women's restroom on Bathhouse Row, these will remain open all day, except for when they are being cleaned.

Welchans said there is still no timeline for when the visitor center in the Fordyce Bath House can reopen.

Local on 05/29/2020

Print Headline: Gulpha Gorge campsites, public restrooms reopen

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