Arkansas Laws for Outdoor Sports

You head into the woods or out to the lake feeling wild and free, unfettered by the expectations of society. That’s a great way to feel, but you still have to follow all the Arkansas laws for outdoor sports if you want to stay free.

Here are some laws you should know before you begin your outdoor adventures:

  • State park campsites may be used by no more than 8 people with 2 tents, or one camping vehicle and one tent. That’s the legal definition of a “camping unit.” Big families may need more than one campsite.
  • Most campgrounds in the state have a 14-day limit for camping in one place.
  • Gas and propane lanterns may not be hung on trees. Use the special lantern hangers at the campsite.
  • Rappelling and rock climbing is allowed at Arkansas state parks, but only in approved areas. These areas have signs identifying them.
  • Approved climbing sites are considered vertical trails. Climbers may not create their own rogue trails, but must follow the approved routes.
  • Climbers must notify the park staff that they plan to climb and must sign a liability waiver. Climbers under 18 must have a parent’s signature on the waiver.
  • Climbers must have appropriate safety gear, as well as a spotter. That’s a regulation at state parks, but it’s a good idea anywhere.
  • Every canoe, kayak, or other boat must carry one flotation device for every passenger.
  • Each of those flotation devices must be Coast Guard approved and of the appropriate size for the person it’s intended for. That collection of preschool floaties from years ago won’t do it.
  • Kids 12 and under must actually wear a life jacket at all times on the boat.
  • No glass containers are allowed on kayaks, canoes, or rafts. Picking up broken glass? It has to stay in a trash container.
  • That trash container? That’s required. It must be attached to the vessel and sealed.
  • All food and drink has to be in a sealed cooler that will keep things from falling into the water.
  • While you’re drinking your beverage, you must have it in a floating container that will keep it from falling into the water.
  • Fishing requires a license in Arkansas. Everyone age 16 or older must have a license to fish.
  • Fishing laws are complex. Check out all the details.

Most of these regulations apply all over the state, or in state parks. National forests and city parks may have additional rules. These rules may not apply on private property. Check the rules for any campgrounds you visit.

It’s better to follow the regulations than to deal with the inconvenience of being banned from your favorite outdoor area!

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