III. General Regulations


(a)(4) Dead wood on the ground may be collected for use as fuel for campfires within the park in the following areas:
  • In all areas of the park
(a)(5) The following conditions are in effect for the walking, climbing, entering, ascending or traversing the listed archeological sites or cultural resources, monuments or statues.
  • Entering a historic structure not open to the public is prohibited.
(b) Hiking or pedestrian traffic is restricted to the trail or walkway as listed in Section 1.5 of this document
  • All established trails except in Wilderness areas. Shortcutting trails and/or removing vegetation) and/or creation of social trails is prohibited in any area.
  • Hunters may leave trails when pursuing game in legal hunting season.
(c)(1), (c)(2) The following fruits, nuts, berries or unoccupied seashells may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites and/or use or consumption restrictions:
  • Edible species of fruits, nuts, mushrooms, and berries may be gathered by hand for daily personal consumption. Collection for commercial purposes is prohibited.

The Superintendent has determined reasonable quantities of fruits, berries, or nuts of all edible species may be gathered for personal use or consumption. Based on professional judgment and available information, the Superintendent has determined that gathering the fruits, nuts, mushrooms, or berries of edible plants within Buffalo National River boundaries for personal use will not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproductive potential of any of those species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources. It is not expected that large numbers of people will gather edible fruits, nuts, mushrooms, and berries in the park. In addition, there are many open and forested areas adjacent to the park which has better access and in some cases, more abundant edible plants. No rare, threatened or endangered plants are included in this listing.



(a)(1) The following are prohibited:
  • Harvesting or altering habitat of mussels
(b)(2) Hunting is permitted and mandated by Federal statutory law
  • Hunting is permitted and is regulated by non-conflicting Arkansas Game and Fish and Commission Regulations
(b)(3) Trapping is permitted if specifically mandated by Federal statutory law
  • Trapping is prohibited;
  • Private inholdings and Agriculture Permit Holders may trap feral hogs with a special park use permit from the Superintendent’s Office if damage to fields is occurring.
(d) The transporting of lawfully taken wildlife through the park is permitted under the following conditions and procedures:
  • Lawfully taken wildlife may be transported through the park but must be tagged according to state law requirements and in route to the nearest wildlife check station or being transported for processing;
  • Transportation of live feral hogs is prohibited in accordance with AR state law.
(e) The following areas are closed to the viewing of wildlife with the use of an artificial light:
  • All areas within the boundary of the park (Arkansas Game and Fish Code 05.03)


36 CFR §2.3 – FISHING

  1. The following State fishing laws and/or regulations, as noted, do not apply in the listed areas:
  • Only fishing by hook and line, with rod or line being closely attended, is allowed throughout Buffalo National River. Bow fishing, Noodling, Gigging and Snagging are permitted per 36 CFR 7.35(a) (1).
(d)(2) Possession or use of live or dead minnows or other bait fish, amphibian, non-preserved fish eggs or roe is permitted in the following fresh water areas:
  • The Buffalo River and all its tributaries as long as all mentioned items are harvested from the Buffalo River or any of its tributaries;
  • Bait purchased from a licensed dealer is also permitted.
(d)(4) In accordance with federal statutory law, commercial fishing is authorized in the following areas, under the conditions noted:
  • Prohibited
(d)(8) Fishing is allowed in or from the following otherwise prohibited areas:
  • Not Applicable



(a)(2)(i) Weapons, traps, or nets may only be carried, possessed or used at the following designated times and locations:
  • Weapons may be possessed within a vehicle while on a city, county, state or Federally
    maintained road or right of way and in accordance with Arkansas State Law;
  • Weapons are prohibited in all Federal facilities to include Visitor Centers/Contact Stations,
    Headquarters and Maintenance Facilities;
  • Traps may be utilized in accordance with special park use permits issued by the Superintendent’s Office.

(a) The sites and areas listed below have been designated for camping activities as noted. A permit system has been established for certain campgrounds or camping activities, and conditions for camping and camping activities are in effect as noted:

• Designated campgrounds/campsites;
• Gravel bars that are naturally devoid of vegetation and are within 100 feet of the river and at least1/2 mile from any developed area.

(b)(3) Camping within 25 feet of a fire hydrant or main road, or within 100 feet of a flowing stream,river or body of water is authorized only in the following areas, under the conditions noted:
• On gravel bars on the Buffalo River that are naturally devoid of vegetation and within 100 feet of the river;
• Designated campsites.

(b)(9) Violating conditions which may be established by the Superintendent:
• Operating electricity producing generators between the hours of 8:00pm and 8:00am is prohibited;
• Portable swimming pools, wading pools, washing machines or any container used for storing more than 20 gallons of water is prohibited;
• No person, party or organization shall be allowed to camp at Buffalo National River for more than a14 day period in one campsite and will not exceed a total of 30 days in a calendar year without authorization of the Superintendent. After this 14 day period campers must change campgrounds
• Drive-In horse camping is only authorized at Steel Creek, Erbie Horse Camp, Woolum, LogWagon Gap and Hathaway Horse camps;
• At Erbie Campground, Recreational Vehicles and pull behind campers are limited to the 14 designated RV sites.
• The following campgrounds are walk-in tent camping only and recreational vehicles and pullbehind style campers are prohibited: Steel Creek, Kyles’ Landing, Carver, Spring Creek and Rush;
• Camping is limited to 6 people per site at camping areas;
• All group sites are limited to a minimum of 10 people and maximum of 25 people;
• Reserving of sites in any campground in a manner where a person pays for days in advance and is not physically present at that site or within Buffalo National River is not permitted. A minimum of one person per site must be present, who has registered and paid for the site, and the site must have a tent, RV, or show some other form of occupancy on the site. First come first serve basis is applicable in all campgrounds except those where reservations are required and taken through the reservation system.
• Third party purchase/reservation of campsites for re-sale to another party is prohibited.
Determination: The noise caused by operating a gasoline/propane generator in a campground during these hours disturbs other campers. Over the years, this generator noise has been a constant complaint to rangers from adjacent campers. Many large groups travel considerable distances and require that a site capable of adequately accommodating the group can be reserved to prevent logistical issues and user conflicts. Camping time limits prevent domination of a campsite or area by a few and to more equitably allocate use of the area. Group size limits are applicable in the interest of resource protection and to minimize obtrusiveness to other visitors. Many visitors are seeking the quiet and solitude of a wilderness experience. Limiting the maximum number of vehicles per campsite minimizes impacts to natural resources that would otherwise result in soil erosion and trampling of vegetation and obtrusiveness to other visitors. Third party purchase and re-sale of campsites is prohibited to ensure all park visitors will have an equal opportunity to reserve a site and stay in one of the park’s campgrounds.

(b)(10) Camping outside of designated sites and areas prohibited:
• Camping within ½ mile of any National Park Service developed area unless it is in a designated camping site is prohibited;
• Camping upon areas used for hay production, grazing, or other agricultural uses is prohibited.
• Camping is permitted on gravel bars at Woolum, Shine Eye and Grinders Ferry;
• Camping is permitted on Gilbert Gravel Bar only on that area downriver from where the Gilbert Road enters Gilbert Gravel Bar;
• RV/pull behind campers are prohibited in tent camping only sites
Determination: Limiting camping to specific areas is necessary to maintain public health and safety,protect the environmental and scenic values, protect natural resources, implement management responsibilities and equitable use of facilities, and avoid conflict among visitor use activities.

19(d) Conditions for the storage of food are in effect, as noted, for the following areas:
• Food is to be properly stored where wildlife cannot access the food, food containers, food wrappers or cooking items. Food, garbage and equipment used to cook or store food must be kept sealed in a vehicle, or in a camping unit that is constructed of solid, non-pliable material, or suspended at least 10 feet above the ground and 4 feet horizontally from a post, tree trunk or other object, or shall be stored as otherwise designated (food boxes at camp sites.) Food boxes are not provided at campsites within Buffalo National River.
Determination: Leaving food items, items used to cook food or store food in the open, greatly increases the chance of wildlife entering visitors camping/picnicking area and habituates the animals to become familiar with people losing natural wariness of humans. Leaving these items unattended greatlyincreases the chance of campsite/picnicking area disturbance where items, especially trash, will bescattered throughout the immediate area possibly posing a threat to the wildlife and/or people.



Conditions for Picnicking: All pavilions, except Lost Valley and Rush, require fee payment and may be reserved through the reservation system.

36 CFR 2.13 – FIRES

(a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas and/or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:
Designated Areas:
  • Developed campgrounds within fire rings or grills
  • Picnic areas within grills
  • Backcountry camping areas
(a)(2) Using stoves or lanterns in violation of established restrictions:
  • May not be used in caves or rock shelters if the lighting source is kerosene, gasoline or any combustible liquid.
(b)Fires shall be extinguished upon termination of use and in accordance with such condition as may be established by the superintendent. Violation of these conditions is prohibited.
(c) During periods of high fire danger, the Superintendent may close all or a portion of the park area to the lighting and maintaining of a fire.
  • When surrounding counties have a Burn Ban in effect, Buffalo National River will consider implementing a Fire Restriction which allows fires in fire grates and grills only. THe decision to implement the burn ban must include an analysis of fire danger and specific threats in the park. If the fire danger becomes extreme there will be a total ban of fires and smoking. This ban will be put into effect based on the US Forest Service National Fire Danger Rating System and may be implemented even when surrounding areas do not implement Burn Bans.


(a)(2) The use of government refuse receptacles or facilities for dumping household, commercial or industrial refuse, brought from a private or municipal property is allowed under the following conditions:
  • Prohibited
The superintendent may establish conditions concerning the disposal, containerization, or carryout of human body waste. Violation of these conditions is prohibited.
  • In non-developed areas solid human waste must be: deposited in fixtures provided for that purpose; buried in a cathole 6”to 8” deep and at least 200’ from water, camp, and trails; packed out in a disposable biodegradable bag toilet system approved for landfill disposal (WAG bag or similar system); or packed out in a self-contained washable, leak-proof, reusable toilet system.

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

(a)(1) The following structures and/or areas are closed to the possession of pets:
  • All government buildings;
  • All park areas and trails, with the exception of: campgrounds, parking areas, gravel bars no further than 100’ from water’s edge, the Buffalo River Trail, only on the section of the trail between Ponca and Steel Creek, the Villines Homestead trail at Ponca, the Mill Creek Trail at Pruitt, trails within Buffalo Point Campground (Overlook Trail, Campground Trail and Forest Trail,) and trails within the Tyler Bend Campground (Spring Hollow, Buck Ridge and Rock Wall Trail);
  • Designated wilderness areas with the exception of gravel bars along the river corridor;
  • Leashed pets are permitted on gravel bars no further than 100’ from water’s edge.
  • Caves;
  • This section does not apply to service animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for Title II (State and Local Government Services) and Title III (Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities.) Only dogs are recognized as service animals under Titles II and III. A service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices. In this case, the individual must maintain control of the animal through voice, signal or other effective controls. A person cannot be asked to remove his or her service animal from the premises unless:
    • The dog is out of control and the handler does not take effective action to control it or,
    • The dog is not housebroken
(a)(3) Pets may be left unattended and tied to an object in the following areas, under the following conditions noted:
  • Prohibited
(a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed of in accordance with the following conditions:
  • In trash receptacles where provided;
  • Removed into the wood line and at least 15 feet from any public use area
  1. The use of dogs in support of hunting must be in accordance with Federal and State laws and the following conditions:
  • Chase for pleasure and dog training are not allowed
  1. Pets may be kept by park residents under the following conditions:
  • Pets must be on a leash
  • Pets are not allowed in shared government quarters


(a) The following animals are designated as pack animals for purposes of transporting equipment:
  • Horses
  • Mules
  • Burros
  • Llamas
  • Goats
(b) The use of horses or pack animals is allowed on the following trails, routes or areas:
  • Lower Buffalo Wilderness-The loop trail from Hathaway Horse Camp to Cow Creek, from Cow Creek along Buffalo River to Cook Hollow and then back to Hathaway Horse Camp
  • Ponca Wilderness designated trails.
  • All other designated trails. Social trails are not “designated trails.”
  • Abandoned roads or traces (abandoned roads that need major maintenance may not be cleared for use.)
  • Within areas designated as Special Horse Use Zones (see APPENDEX B for list of zones), stock use will be restricted to designated horse trails and primitive routes.
  1. The use of horses or pack animals on a park road is prohibited, except:
  • Where such travel is necessary to cross to or from designated trails, or areas, or privately owned property, and no alternative trails or routes have been designated
  • When the road has been closed to motor vehicles.

(g) Other conditions concerning the use of horses or pack animals:
  • Horses or pack animals may not be tethered within 100 feet of a watercourse or within a designated campsite not designed for horses.
  • Horses or pack animals may not be tethered to signs, buildings, historic structures or live vegetation to include trees
  • Horses or pack animals are not allowed to graze on hay leases;
  • More than six persons and six head of livestock are not permitted in campsites designated for horse camping;
  • This section does not apply to service animals and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for Title II (State and Local Government Services) and Title III (Public Accommodations and Commercial Facilities.) Only miniature horses are recognized as service animals under Titles II and III. These generally range in height from 24 to 34 inches and weigh 70 to 100 pounds. Assessing whether or not a miniature horse can be accommodated in NPS facilities is judged according to the following factors:
    • The horse must be housebroken;
    • The horse is under the owner’s control;
    • The facility can accommodate the horse type, size and weight;
    • If the horse’s presence will not compromise legitimate safety requirements necessary for safe operation of the facility.



(a)(2) The operation or use of aircraft under power on water within 500 feet of designated swimming beaches, boat docks, piers, or ramps is permitted in the following areas, under the conditions noted:
  • Throughout the park during emergency operations
  • During training operations with a permit signed by the Superintendent

(c)(1) The removal of a downed aircraft, components, or parts thereof is subject to procedures established by the Superintendent through written authorization.
  • The removal of downed aircraft requires written authorization prior to removal on a case- by- case basis


(a) The following park roads and/or parking areas open to motor vehicle traffic may be used for skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, inner tubing, tobogganing, and similar winter activities under the conditions noted:
  • None
(b) The towing of persons on skis, sled or other similar device by motor vehicle or snowmobile is allowed in the following areas and/or routes:
  • Prohibited


The use of roller skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are allowed only in the following areas:
  • Prohibited

36 CFR §2.21 – SMOKING

(a) The following portions of the park, or all or portions of buildings, structures or facilities are closed to smoking as noted:
  • Government buildings
  • Historical structures
  • All Caves

36 CFR §2.22 – PROPERTY

(a)(2) Property may be left unattended for periods longer than 24 hours in the following areas and under the following conditions:
  • Visitors on backcountry trips may leave their vehicles unattended at designated parking areas for the duration of their trip
  • Agriculture permit holders, use and occupancy holders and employees within park housing may leave personal vehicles and farm implements unattended at locations of use in excess of 24 hours.


(b) Recreation fees, and/or a permit, in accordance with 36 CFR Part 71, are established for the following entrance fee areas, and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events or specialized recreation uses:
Entrance Fee Areas:
Daily Site Use Fee Areas:
Designated Campgrounds
Designated Fee Pavilions


(a)(3)(i) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken or the contents of which have been partially removed:
All government buildings



(b) Fireworks and firecrackers may be possessed and/or used in the following areas, under the conditions noted:
  • Prohibited


(b) A permit is required for the scattering of ashes from cremated human remains, or in the following designated areas without a permit, in accordance with the following terms and conditions:
  • The scattering of human ashes from cremation, without a permit, is allowed under the following terms and conditions:
    • The remains to be scattered must have been cremated and pulverized.
    • The scattering of remains by persons on the ground is to be performed at least 100 yards from any trail, road, developed facility, or body of water.
    • The scattering of remains from the air is to be performed at a minimum altitude of 2000 feet above the ground.
    • No scattering of remains from the air is to be performed over developed areas, facilities, or bodies of water.


Permits are required for the use of a vessel in the following areas:
  • Not Applicable

36 CFR §3.7 Personal Floatation Devices

  • Occupants of a vessel who are twelve (12) years of age or younger must wear personal flotation devices, of the types described below in brackets, securely fastened to their persons at all times while aboard any vessel. [One (1) Type I, II, III, or V, if used according to its approved conditions, personal flotation device (PFD) which is U.S. Coast Guard approved, in good and serviceable condition, and of proper size for each person on board]. A “vessel” is defined as every description of watercraft, or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on the water (36 CFR § 1.4.) See also Arkansas Code 27-101-703 (d)(4) and 36 CFR 1.5.


(a)(1) The following areas/sites are designated for the launching or recovery of vessels using a trailer:
  • All areas outside of designated wilderness that are opened to the operation of machinery/motorized vehicles
(a)(2)The following areas/sites are designated for the launching or recovery of vessels propelled by machinery:
  • All areas outside of designated wilderness that are opened to the operation of machinery/motorized vehicles
(4) Vessels must meet the following size, length, horsepower restriction or width restrictions:
  • Found in 7.35 special regulations


(a) The towing of persons by vessels is allowed in the following areas under the terms and conditions noted:
  • Prohibited


(a)(1) The following areas are closed to swimming and bathing:
  • Bathing is not permitted in any portion of Buffalo National River.
  • Rinsing is allowed however, bathing with any type of soap is not permitted.
(a)(2) The following restrictions apply to all swimming and wading activities:
  • Not Applicable


(b) The use of flotation devices, glass containers, kites, or incompatible sporting activities is not permitted on the following swimming beaches, as noted:
  • Glass containers are not permitted within 100 feet of any river or stream
  • Arkansas Code 8-6-418 also restricts glass use on the Buffalo River and other flowing streams in Arkansas. These regulations do not apply to a person removing glass and other refuse found by him or her that was previously discarded by others from the banks of the Buffalo River.


(a) SCUBA diving and snorkeling is permitted in the following swimming, docking, and mooring areas under the terms and conditions noted:
  • All areas within the park


(a) Park roads open for travel by motor vehicle are those indicated below, and/or as indicated in the following publication or document (attached):
All roads that are not signed “Closed to Motor Vehicles”, “Authorized Vehicles Only” or are gated and locked.
  • Unless specifically allowed, parking on gravel bars, except to unload canoes and other gear at designated boat launches, is prohibited.
(c)(1) Track-laying motor vehicles, or other motor vehicles equipped with a similar traction device may be operated on the following routes under the terms and conditions noted:
  • During construction projects


(a) The following load, weight and size limits, which are more restrictive than State law, apply to the roads indicated under the terms and conditions, and/or under permit as noted:
  • No single vehicle operated on any road within Buffalo National River, unladen or with load, shall have an overall length in excess of forty feet (40’).
  • No bus operated on any road within Buffalo National River shall have an overall length in excess of forty five feet (45’).
  • No motor vehicle shall be operated on any road within Buffalo National River with more than two (2) trailers or which has an overall length in excess of forty feet (40’). These regulations reflect State regulations.


(b) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated:
  • All gravel roads-20 MPH
  • Tyler Bend Road-35 MPH
  • Kyle’s Landing-20 MPH (County Road 56)
  • Camp Orr Road-20 MPH
  • Steel Creek Road (paved portion)-25 MPH
  • Steel Creek Road (gravel portion)-20 MPH
  • Buffalo Point Campground Road-25 MPH
  • Rush Road-20 MPH
  • HWY 7, 65, 14, 43, 74, 268, and 21 as posted per State Regulations

36 CFR §4.30 – BICYCLES

(a) Park roads and parking areas that are closed to bicycle use are listed in section 1.5 of this document.
  • Bicycles are not permitted on trails
(b) Administrative roads that are closed to motor vehicle use by the public, but open to motor vehicle use for administrative purposes may be used by non-motorized bicycles and e-bikes. Administratively closed roads posted as “Do Not Enter” may not be used by any bicycle.
(d)(3) Riding a bicycle abreast of another rider is allowed on the following routes:
  • Prohibited


Hitchhiking is permitted in the following areas under the conditions noted:
  • Prohibited

36 CFR §7.35 Buffalo National River SPECIAL REGULATIONS

(a)Fishing. (1) Unless otherwise designated by the Superintendent, fishing in a manner authorized by State law is allowed.
  • Bow fishing, gigging and snagging for rough fish, use of attended and identified trot lines, and non-commercial capture of bait fish, using traps or seines is permitted. Bow fishing, gigging and Snagging will be permitted within the established time frame by Arkansas Game and Fish Regulations.
  • Rough Fish – Gar (except alligator gar), bowfin, common carp, Asian carp (grass carp, bighead carp, silver carp), sucker (including buffalo), bullhead and drum.
(2) The Superintendent may designate times when and locations where and establish conditions under which the digging of bait for personal use is allowed.
  • Digging for bait is prohibited
(3) The Superintendent may designated times when and locations where and establish conditions under which the collection of terrestrial and aquatic insects for bait for personal use is allowed.
  • The collection of terrestrial and aquatic insects for bait is permitted if the insects are collected by hand or hand net for use as bait.
(4) Violating a designation or condition established by the Superintendent is prohibited.
(b) Frogs, Turtles and Crayfish. (1) The Superintendent may designate times and locations and establish conditions governing the taking of frogs, turtles and crayfish for personal use.
  • The collection of bullfrogs, turtles and crayfish is permitted under traditional methods. An Arkansas fishing license must be in possession when hunting bullfrogs.

(b)(2) Violating a designation or condition established by the Superintendent is prohibited.
(c) Motorized vessels. (1) Except for a vessel propelled by a gasoline, diesel, or other internal combustion engine with a rating of 10 horsepower or less, operating a motorized vessel from Erbie Ford to the White River is prohibited.
(c)(2) Operating a vessel propelled by a motor is prohibited above Erbie Ford.
(c)(3) The provisions of paragraph (c) do not apply to a vessel operated by official use by an agency of the United States, the State of Arkansas or one of its political subdivisions.


Last updated: November 18, 2022

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