Arkansas lodge opens amid Ozarks

Sunday, May 14, 2006

PARIS, Ark. -- Mount Magazine State Park has opened its new lodge and cabins, nestled amid ancient forests in the Ozark Mountains.

All 60 lodge rooms and 13 cabins have a view of the river valley and lake, and the facilities are handicapped-accessible.

Activities offered in the park includes hang-gliding, hiking, horseback riding, boating, rock climbing, nature walks, bird-watching, backpacking, fishing, and geocaching, the high-tech version of treasure hunting.

The park is home to black bears, wild turkey, and so many butterflies Mount Magazine hosts an annual International Butterfly Festival in the summer. This year it will be held June 23-24; details at www.butterflyfestival.com.

On opening day, the lodge and cabins were booked. Gov. Mike Huckabee and first lady Janet Huckabee beat the crowd by staying two nights before opening week in the largest cabin with the benefits of a kitchen, a washer and dryer, wireless Internet connection, satellite television, a hot tub, a wood-burning fireplace, and a deck overlooking the Petit Jean River Valley and Blue Mountain Lake.

Lodge rates range from $79 for a standard room on a winter weekday to $199 for a suite with a fireplace and balcony on Fridays and Saturdays. The cabins sleep two to six people and range in price from $149 to $429 a night.

Park Superintendent David Flugrad estimates Mount Magazine will draw 300,000 visitors a year.

The park, which also has campgrounds, is located on Arkansas Scenic Highway 309, about 17 miles south of Paris.

For more information, visit www.mountmagazinestatepark.com.

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