SILOAM SPRINGS, Ark — Starting May 19, the Siloam Springs Kayak Park will limit how many guests they can accommodate at the same time. The park will also start charging people on certain days.
After nearly 10 years in Northwest Arkansas, the park is looking to make some changes, as the population of Northwest Arkansas and the popularity of the park rise.
"I like fishing the rapids and it's just usually peaceful out here like it is right now. Just a few people" said fisherman Logan Wright who says he comes out to the park a few times out the year.
Although the park is nice and peaceful now, last year, that was not the case.
“On the Fourth of July last year, we had 6000 people there just on one day,” said Siloam Springs Parks and Recreation Manager Travis Chaney. “We only have 100 parking spaces.”
Chaney says cars illegally lined the streets, restrooms were trashed and the park was left a mess.
“Big clean up the next day," said Chaney recalling that day. "That's what's going through my head.”
After several years of discussions to figure out how to best serve the park and its visitors, starting May 19 through Labor Day (Sept. 4) the park will limit visitors to the first 100 vehicles that fill the park's 100 parking spots.
"We're going to have a $10 per car parking fee, but just on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the summer,” Chaney said.
If you plan on coming out, don’t bring cash. They’ll only accept electronic payment methods. “That's credit, debit, Cash App, Apple Pay, or Google Pay,” Chaney explained.
The park will staff two or three people to take care of the restrooms and watch the gate.
Chaney says Monday through Thursday the park won't have capacity restrictions. “We think that it is a good long-term solution to try to limit capacity in some way.”
Siloam Springs tells 5NEWS the park will be leased by the nonprofit Illinois River Watershed Partnership. The nonprofit will provide staff for the park on weekends.
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