• Rifle Regiment arriving at Belle Point, 1817. Artwork by Michael Haynes

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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  • Road Construction I-540

    Traveling West on I-40? To avoid construction delays, do not take Exit 7 (I-540 S). Stay on I-40 west and take Exit 1 Dora. Stay on Hwy 64D for 6 miles and follow signs to Fort Smith. After crossing over the river, turn right on 4th ST & right on Garland. More »

Laws & Policies

"For nearly 100 years, the mission of the National Park Service has been to protect and preserve the parks and to help all visitors enjoy them," National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis Said. "We will administer this law as we do all others - fairly and consistently." - In regards to Section 512 of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, Public law 111-24, 123 Stat. 1764-65.

Enabling Legislation

On September 13, 1961, an act authorizing the establishment of the Fort Smith National Historic Site in the State of Arkansas came into legislation... [for the purpose of] preservation ... the original Fort Smith established in 1817 on Belle Point at the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers, together with such adjoining property as the Secretary [of the Interior] may deem necessary... (view Enabling Legislation)


Federal Laws

Laws are created by Congress and establish the highest order of legal authority over National Parks. More...

  • Many laws, including the 1916 Organic Act that created the National Park Service, affect all areas managed by the National Park Service
  • Enabling legislation are the laws passed by congress that establish and define the park and its purposes.
  • Service-wide policy for the National Park Service is developed by the Office of Policy with public input and in accordance with applicable laws. Policies dictate many of the overall directions and procedures used by all parks. More...

Rules and Regulations

Note: Specific laws and policies cited in the following are current as of February 22, 2010; it is possible that the laws may change or be amended before being reflected on this page. It is the user's responsibility to be aware of new laws and amendments as they pertain to the Fort Smith National Historic Site prior to visitation.

Alcohol & Controlled Substances

  • All areas of the park are closed to the consumption/use of controlled substances.

Artifacts and Public Land

  • According to the Archeological Resource Protection Act of 1979, all natural, cultural, and archeological resources are protected and may not be removed or disturbed.
  • If a park visitor locates an artifact, he/she should not touch or handle said artifact, but should contact a Park Ranger or Curator/Archeologist.
  • Prosecution is an available option to be used against violators.

Firearms & Explosives


  • Pets are allowed at the Fort Smith National Historic Site in so much as they are able to be carried or are attached to a secure leash.


  • The Fort Smith National Historic Site is located on publicly-owned land, and all visitors have an obligation to be responsible with their trash/litter. Waste Containers are located throughout the premises in order to keep our land beautiful.

Recreational Activities

  • Bicycling on the sidewalks is prohibited.
  • ATV's or other recreational vehicles are prohibited on Park Grounds.
  • Specific events may require a Special Use Permit.

Did You Know?

Interior of jail cell with box for prisoners to visit with their lawyers

The conditions at the federal jail at Fort Smith were so horrible that it received the nickname "Hell on the Border." Up to 50 men were crowded into one large cell with limited ventilation and poor sanitary conditions.