At this point, simply one item from the release to correct: Make that _11AM_ Friday May 30th. This directly from personnel responsible for the park's upkeep, and it's made the Democrat-Gazette at least once. Again, as of 5/30/03, to visit the official survey marker, you'll have to walk on the new Arkansas map and look for Magazine's geographic location in the west-central portion, south of the Arkansas River. It will certainly be among the best-dressed of the highpoints, if not indeed so by the excellent design. A huge sign is just to the north of the map. To the south of the map will soon be constructed a stepping platform of some sort to allow photographers a full view of the map with benchmark, the sign just behind them. It'll be classy!
I visited on 5/25 and am very impressed with the recent improvements. The trails are widened considerably and are almost hazard-free, but at least the north trail (From Cameron Bluff campground as mentioned in the news release, my favorite of the 3 trails to the HP) is still not suitable for anyone confined to a motorized wheelchair due to stone steps or barriers designed to stabilize the trail's new fill material. The parking is still scarce and usually close to capacity on that particular trailhead, and I will suggest an improvement be made to provide more with the increased traffic the area is beginning to enjoy. Certainly the trails are safer and more speedy in hiking the under-half mile than before, so what's been done so far is an excellent start.
Also, a tentative construction period has been determined for the NEW Mount Magazine Lodge sometime during early 2004 during the winter. I expect they'll encounter some delays as that is among a handful of areas in this state where it can freeze up, yet in the valley below, it's ice-free and several degrees warmer. The lodge can expect a minimum 60 room capacity, each with an awesome view to the south which you can see much of rural Yell County from around 2,600 ft. The last Lodge burned down in 1971, however, with fire protection as finally resolved - plans for the Lodge are moving forward.
Expect to see additional trails to be constructed and events to be scheduled, especially with a new Visitors Center in place. The roads have been transformed since my previous visit, so problems with patched up potholes are no longer prevalent.
Finally, I know one of the rangers at the park. We go back almost a decade and he shows immense pride toward the mountain since he's native to nearby Paris. He's
willing to keep me posted with anything concerning the highpoint, I remain an Arkansan, and I plan more visits to the area thanks to these improvements. We talked for a long time Sunday. To that end, if I gain membership in Highpointers, I am willing to serve if requested as Arkansas HP liaison if doing so could assist the Club's interests in news or any issues of access there.