Blanchard Springs Caverns will reopen next week, it was announced Tuesday.
Officials with the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests indicated the Caverns would resume a five-day-per-week schedule for the Dripstone Tour on Aug. 18 as the first step in reopening following a two-year closure.
The news release stated: "Multiple factors contributed to the lengthy closure of the Caverns, including ongoing facility repairs and safety mitigation measures related to the pandemic. Safety and the desire to provide a quality visitor experience remain the top priorities for Forests and Caverns staff."
Amy Burt, recreation staff officer, offered information on some of the changes visitors can expect upon reopening.
“Tickets must be pre-purchased through www.recreation.gov. Advanced ticketing for tours will allow the Caverns to adequately staff guided tours on the Dripstone Trail and provide a more enhanced visitor experience. Tours will be available Thursdays-Mondays and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.”
The more arduous Discovery and Wild Cave Tours will not be offered at this time because of staffing limitations, she said..
“Visitors will be asked to wear a face mask during periods of high Covid-19 county community transmission levels. County levels are released every Friday and can be accessed at https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#datatracker-home,” Burt added.
Eastern National, a non-profit association committed to “supporting the interpretive, educational and scientific programs and services of the National Park Service and other public trust partners,” has recently reopened its store inside the Visitor Information Center. The shop offers souvenirs, unique gifts and cold bottled water.
For more information about ticketing and Caverns operations, visit https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/233266/ticket/172
or call 870-757-2211.
About Blanchard Springs Caverns:
Open since July 1973, the Caverns are located off State Highway 14 between Mountain View and Fifty-Six, Ark. The Caverns are home to one of the most spectacular and carefully developed caves found anywhere. Visitors will experience stunning, glistening formations like stalactites, stalagmites, columns, and flowstones, which still are still changing and growing over time due to underground stream systems and springs. Multiple sensitive salamander and bat species call the Caverns home.
The Dripstone Trail, which stays a cool 58 degrees year-round, takes visitors on a one-way, one-half mile accessible trail designed to accommodate strollers and wheelchairs, with a strong assistant.
Blanchard Springs Caverns is an Arkansas treasure and often considered the premier guided “living” cave system open for public tour in the National Forest System.
For general information about the Caverns, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/osfnf/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5351305.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here