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News for January 25, 2022

Shea Lewis Named Next Director of Arkansas State Parks

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Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism, on Monday announced Shea Lewis as the next director for Arkansas State Parks. Lewis will replace Grady Spann, who retired on December 31, 2021, after 28 years with Arkansas State Parks. Lewis began in the role on January 3 at a salary of $120,002.

“Shea Lewis has a proven track record of accomplishment within Arkansas State Parks,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “Our parks system offers not only the outdoor recreation that The Natural State is so well known for, but it also protects and showcases our state’s history and heritage. These resources couldn’t be left in better hands, and I know Shea will continue the legacy of his predecessors Grady Spann, Greg Butts, and Richard Davies.”

Shea Lewis, the incoming director of Arkansas State Parks. / Photo courtesy of Arkansas State Parks

Lewis brings 24 years of experience with Arkansas State Parks, both in day-to-day operations and in executive leadership roles. He currently serves as deputy director, a position he has held since 2017. Lewis started his career with ASP as a seasonal interpreter at both Millwood State Park and Village Creek State Park before becoming a full-time interpreter at both Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park and Crowley’s Ridge State Park. He was promoted to superintendent at Parkin Archeological State Park in 2004 and then served as a regional supervisor for eight years.

“Shea is a hard worker and a thoughtful leader,” Hurst said. “Because he has served at multiple levels within Arkansas State Parks, he is fully familiar with the complex operation of our system. I know that he will hit the ground running, and I look forward to his contributions that will make our wonderful state parks even better.”

Lewis received a bachelor’s degree in parks, recreation, and leisure studies from the University of Memphis and a master’s degree in education/instructional resources and media design from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

“Arkansas State Parks has a great tradition of protecting and managing the resources entrusted to us, as well as offering memorable experiences,” Lewis said. “It is my goal to continue that tradition while implementing innovative ways to guarantee relevancy for the next generation of park guests.”

The Arkansas State Parks director is responsible for leading the operation of 52 state parks and a central office including administration, planning and development, marketing and revenue, program services, and five regional offices. Additionally, the director oversees the $158 million annual budget appropriated for the division’s responsibilities.

Lewis lives in Hot Springs with his wife, Sebrena, and their children Gracie, Anna and William.

About Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism

The Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism has three major divisions: Arkansas State Parks, Arkansas Heritage, and Arkansas Tourism. Arkansas State Parks manages 52 state parks and promotes Arkansas as a tourist destination for people around the country. Arkansas Heritage preserves and promotes Arkansas’s natural and cultural history and heritage through four historic museums and four cultural preservation agencies. Arkansas Tourism improves the state’s economy by generating travel and enhancing the image of the state.

About Arkansas State Parks

Arkansas State Parks is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism. Arkansas state parks and museums cover 54,400 acres of forest, wetlands, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation facilities, and unique historic and cultural resources. Established in 1923, Arkansas State Parks preserve special places for future generations, provide quality recreation and education opportunities, enhance the state’s economy through tourism, and provide leadership in resource conservation. Arkansas State Parks serves more than 8 million visitors annually. Connect with ASP on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and visit ArkansasStateParks.com and ArkansasStateParks.com/media to learn more. 

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