MURFREESBORO, Ark. – Crater of Diamonds State Park is celebrating its 50th anniversary as an Arkansas state park this weekend.
Since being purchased by the State of Arkansas in March of 1972, Crater of Diamonds has become North America’s only public diamond mine.
“Crater of Diamonds State Park has become one of the most recognizable ambassadors for Arkansas,” Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism said. “In many cases, if people outside our state know little else about us, they know that you can come to Arkansas and search for diamonds. We are proud of this unique feature and look forward to celebrating this important milestone for the park in April.”
Shea Lewis, director of Arkansas State Parks said he is both looking forward to celebrating the park’s 50th anniversary, but also looking ahead to the park’s future.
“All of our 52 state parks are unique,” Lewis said, “but Crater of Diamonds offers an experience that you literally can`t find anywhere else in North America. I am extremely proud of the staff we have and their commitment to making that experience special for each of our park guests.”
On Friday, the park unveiled a new display commemorating the discovery of the 8.52-carat Esperanza diamond, the sixth largest discovered there, and the largest diamond found at the park since 2015.
In 2021 alone, the park had its largest number of paid visitors in its history with over 201,000 visiting, but only 354 diamonds were discovered and only eight of them were larger than one carat.
“Part of a diamond`s value comes from its rarity,” Park Superintendent Caleb Howell said. “Few visitors find diamonds at the park, but most leave happy because they find something more valuable here: the chance to reconnect with family and friends in a natural setting. We`re celebrating a half-century of providing a place for people to do just that.”
For more information, contact Crater of Diamonds State Park at 870-285-3113, or email CraterofDiamonds@arkansas.com.