LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s open public forum and monthly meeting, scheduled for March 18-19 in Hope, have been canceled because of concerns caused by the spread of the coronavirus. All AGFC facilities have been closed to the public until March 30.
The building closure includes the AGFC’s Little Rock headquarters, regional offices, hatcheries, nature and conservation education centers, shooting ranges and field offices. The public is encouraged to use outside amenities such as hiking trails, lakes, wildlife management areas and water trails.
"Hunting and fishing licenses for residents and nonresidents can still be purchased at open license vendors throughout the state and even through our website (www.agfc.com) to promote social distancing," said AGFC Director Pat Fitts. "The outdoors is always open, and spring is a great time to enjoy some fishing, bird watching or scouting for the upcoming turkey season in The Natural State."
AGFC Deputy Director Chris Colclasure said the closure of facilities won’t stop staff from spreading the conservation message.
“Our Education Centers are already working on ways to deliver programming through new channels, and we’ve seen some very creative ideas to keep people engaged with the outdoors during this time,” Colclasure said. “People can check the centers’ Facebook pages for updates from their educators.”
The AGFC is reviewing all upcoming events that may involve nonessential large gatherings that could expand exposure to the virus. More information on those events is available at AGFC.com.
“We continue to follow developing information and guidelines from federal, state and local health officials concerning public spaces,” Fitts said. “And I urge everyone to take all safety precautions to reduce the risk of illness and the spread of disease.”
Proposed regulations for future consideration that would have been presented at the March commission meeting will be available to the public at AGFC.com next week. At this time, the April commission meeting is scheduled for April 23 in Little Rock.