SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Johnny Morris, a conservationist and founder of Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Shops, announced Tuesday (Aug. 4) the purchase of the former Dogpatch USA theme park in northern Arkansas.
The 400-acre park property is along Arkansas Highway 7 between Harrison and Jasper in Newton County, which has a population of about 7,800.
Specific plans for the property have yet to be determined, but any development is expected to be an extension of Morris’ other properties, connecting families and nature, according to a news release. Morris and his team are evaluating which buildings can be salvaged and restored while starting to clear debris and dilapidated structures.
“We are very excited to have the opportunity to restore, preserve and share this crown jewel of Arkansas and the Ozarks so everyone can further enjoy the wonderful region we call home,” said Morris, a lifelong resident of Springfield, Missouri. Johnny has worked tirelessly to promote and share the natural beauty of the Ozarks with visitors from around the world. He added, “We’re going to take our time to restore the site, dream big and imagine the possibilities to help more families get back to nature through this historic and cherished place.”
The site is located near the legendary Buffalo National River, which flows through 135 miles of breathtaking natural scenery. One of the few remaining un-dammed rivers in the lower 48 states, the Buffalo is the first river to receive special designation from the National Park Service.
Today, the area is a popular destination for outdoor adventures including float trips, fishing, camping and mountain biking.
The Dogpatch property is a short, scenic 35-minute drive from Big Cedar Lodge, a premier wilderness resort, just north of the Missouri-Arkansas state line in nearby Ridgedale, Missouri.
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