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The former Dogpatch USA theme park property spans 400 acres.
Photo provided by Bass Pro Shops
The former Dogpatch USA theme park property spans 400 acres.

Morris buys Dogpatch property, mulls development

Posted online

Last edited 11:38 a.m., Aug. 5, 2020

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris is exploring development opportunities at the former Dogpatch USA theme park property in northern Arkansas.

The outdoor retailer on Tuesday announced Morris purchased the 400-acre property in Newton County. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed in a news release, and officials could not be reached for comment by deadline. Arkansas Business reports the land was acquired at an auction last month for $1.12 million by Down By the Falls LLC, which is registered in Delaware with a Springfield residential street address.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to restore, preserve and share this crown jewel of Arkansas and the Ozarks so everyone can further enjoy the wonderful region we call home," Morris said in the release. “We’re going to take our time to restore the site, dream big and imagine the possibilities to help more families get back to nature through this historic and cherished place.”

Officials said in the release a priority in the development process would be the restoration of a large natural spring, as well as a trout hatchery and fishing areas.

Constructed in 1967, the property formerly known as Dogpatch USA closed in 1993. During its popularity peak in the late '60s, the attraction brought in some 300,000 annual visitors. In addition to rides, the park had a trout farm and horseback rides.

The property is located about 35 minutes away from Morris' Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, according to the release.

Closer to Springfield, Morris and his team are redeveloping the historic Ozark Mill property. Restoration of the 30,000-square-foot, 1833-era mill is part of the project.

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