Petit Jean park domain name now registered in Ukraine

Petit Jean State Park was Arkansas' first state park. (Democrat-Gazette file photo/Marcia Schnedler)
Petit Jean State Park was Arkansas' first state park. (Democrat-Gazette file photo/Marcia Schnedler)

Looking for information on Petit Jean State Park?

Don’t bother typing PetitJeanStatePark.com into your computer browser. The domain name is now registered to a man in Kyiv, Ukraine.

From 2018 until sometime between Sept. 3 and Sept. 10 of this year, PetitJeanStatePark.com would redirect to ArkansasStateParks.com, based on screenshots from the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

But by Sept. 10, going to PetitJeanStatePark.com started taking internet surfers to a site that indicates “This Page Is Under Construction - Coming Soon.”

For years, Arkansas State Parks has been corralling the domain names of various parks under the umbrella of ArkansasStateParks.com, said Shealyn Sowers, a spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

“We are always looking for ways to be more fiscally responsible,” said Sowers. “All state parks are under one domain, so we’ve been phasing out the individual domains because they are not used. Each park’s domain is simply a redirect to our Arkansas State Parks page.”

Just how much money is the state saving this way? Sowers didn’t say.

And for PetitJeanStatePark.com? The state apparently doesn’t want it back.

“The department does not think it is necessary to renew each of the individual park domains,” Sowers said in an email. “Arkansasstateparks.com went live on July 10, 2012. Since then, ADPHT staff has evaluated prior held domain names for individual park websites and found them to no longer be necessary for operations. With the advent of search driven results and mobile platform technology individuals aren’t keying in individual url addresses anymore.”

Seven of the state’s most popular parks had their own domain names, which for the most part were the names of the park followed by .com, based on Wayback Machine screenshots.

Since 2018, those separate park websites were set to redirect to ArkansasStateParks.com, and six of them still do.

Except for PetitJeanStatePark.com.

A click for additional information at the above link leads to a page that reads: “This ‘Under Construction’ page is an automatically generated placeholder Web page for a domain that is not yet attached to an active Web site. This page replaces the ‘Not Found’ error pages and notifies visitors that a Web site is coming soon.”

Under “How Do I Replace This Page?” the instructions are: “Publishing your Web site, updating the name servers, or forwarding to another domain name will automatically replace this default page.”

A search through whois.networksolutions.com indicated the current owner of PetitJeanStatePark.com lives in Kiev, Ukraine.

He didn’t respond to an email on Monday seeking comment.

The PetitJeanStatePark.com domain name was created on Aug. 31, 2001, according to whois.networksolutions.com.

Sowers didn’t respond to an email on Tuesday asking if the department would allow the domain names of the other six state parks to expire, since they’re under ArkansasStateParks.com.

Donnie Crain, president/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce in Morrilton, about 16 miles from Petit Jean State Park, said the domain difference hasn’t affected their brochures.

He said the Chamber recently had two brochures printed, and both use the ArkansasStateParks.com website as the contact for more information on Petit Jean State Park.

“The publications that we’re using right now have been fairly recently published and I think we had already gotten the guidance from State Parks to use the new website,” he said.

There are, however, still references to PetitJeanStatePark.com on other websites, including this one from the Arkansas Department of Parks,” and Tourism: https://www.arkansas.com/morrilton/outdoor-recreation/lake-bailey.

Robert Steinbuch, a professor at the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said the PetitJeanStatePark.com domain name may not be of much value to the man in Ukraine.

“In the end, he will not be able get to get a windfall because the case law supports that the state would be entitled to get that name back if it wants it — at cost, a de minimis amount,” said Steinbuch.

Regarding domain names, Steinbuch, 55, said “Typing a domain name is from my generation. You don’t do that. You Google Petit Jean Mountain.”