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Bass Pro Shops owner buys 400-acre disused theme park

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Dogpatch USA, a derelict theme park in northern Arkansas, has been bought by Bass Pro Shops founder and conservationist, Johnny Morris.

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris has bought a 400-acre former theme park in northern Arkansas.

While specific plans for the property – Dogpatch USA – remains in the early stages, Bass Pro says that the future development will be an extension of the group’s signature experiences that help families connect with nature. These include its award-winning Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium, Big Cedar Lodge and Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve.

“We are very excited to have the opportunity to restore and share this crown jewel of Arkansas and the Ozarks so that everyone can enjoy the wonderful region we call home,” said Morris, a lifelong resident of Springfield. “We are 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.”

The property is near the 135-mile Buffalo National River, the first national river in the USA, and a 35-minute drive from Big Cedar Lodge, a resort developed by Morris.

Dogpatch USA was built in 1967 and operated as a theme park that featured a trout farm, horseback and amusement rides and attractions. The park attracted 300,000 visitors annually at its height in the late 1960s before closing its doors in 1993 after years of decline.

No purchase price has been disclosed, but a local paper reported in June that the site had been sold for $1.2m.

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