Fort Smith National Historic Site to begin access to park BY STAFF REPORTS

BY STAFF REPORTS
06/02/2020 09:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
On June 1, the Fort Smith National Historic Site will begin a phased-in approach to provide access to the site. WILL CHAVEZ/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
FORT SMITH, Ark. – On June 1, the Fort Smith National Historic Site will begin a phased-in approach to provide access to the site.

Staff will continue to operate under the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and local and state authorities to promote social distancing. The National Park Service is working service-wide with federal, state and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic, using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

“The National Park Service is a public service agency of the federal government. Our mission is to protect the natural and cultural resources of the park, while providing for the enjoyment of the park by the public. We hold this mission dear to our hearts,” said Fort Smith National Historic Site Superintendent and Cherokee Nation citizen Lisa Conard Frost. “This is a challenging situation for all of us and we want to do our part to prevent the spread of infectious disease. We will continue to monitor and modify our programs to protect the health and safety of our staff and visitors.”

Beginning June 1, 2020:

• Weather permitting and applying social distancing guidelines, park rangers will conduct roving interpretation on the grounds and trails and will provide scheduled outdoor interpretive/educational daily programs at 10 a.m., noon and 2 pm, meeting outside the visitor center entrance.

• The historic site’s commissary and gallows will reopen to the public.

• Porta facilities for restroom use will be available in the main parking area. With public health in mind, the visitor center and Frisco Station will remain closed and will be phased back into operation when feasible, based on federal, state and local guidance and risk assessments from best available data.

“The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers and partners at Fort Smith National Historic Site is our number one priority. We will notify the public when we phase facilities back into operations and resume full operations by providing updates on our website and social media channels,” Frost said.

The NPS urges visitors to do their part when visiting a park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious disease by maintaining a safe distance; washing their hands; avoiding touching their eyes, nose, and mouth; covering their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; and most importantly, staying home if feeling sick. Visitors are also encouraged to wear facemasks and adhere to social distancing at least 6 feet apart. For high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, NPS officials ask that those visitors take extra caution and follow CDC guidance for those at higher risk of serious illness.

Updates about NPS operations will be posted on www.nps.gov/coronavirus. For park-specific information and updates, visit the park website at www.nps.gov/fosm or follow the historic site on social media via Facebook and Instagram.

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