Corps campsites may shut down; state park sites to remain open

The U.S. Corps of Engineers is preparing to close recreation facilities nationwide in the event the federal government is shut down as part of the inability of Congress to approve a budget.

Fortunately, the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism announced Friday that a federal government shut down will not close state parks and recreation areas.

"The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers understands the impact that these actions might have on the American recreating public if we are required to close our recreation areas," Michael Ensch, chief of operations for the Corps, said in a statement. "We know that this is a time of year when many vacationing families are using or planning to use Corps recreation facilities, and we will reopen them for public use and enjoyment as quickly as possible."

Corps parks leased to partner agencies and concessionaires will remain open but cannot be supported by the Corps while the shutdown is in place. Campers on site Corps recreation properties prior to the shutdown will be required to leave no later
than 8 p.m., April 10.

Little Rock District of the Corps of Engineers operates parks in the White River basin in Arkansas and southern Missouri at Beaver, Table Rock, Bull Shoals, Norfork, Clearwater and Greers Ferry lakes. The district operates parks all along the Arkansas River, to include Dardanelle and Ozark lakes, as well as Nimrod and Blue Mountain Lakes on two tributaries. In the Little River Basin in southwest Arkansas, the district operates parks at Millwood, Dierks, DeQueen and Gillham lakes.

Depending on status, customers are eligible for refunds. To request a refund, customers are asked to contact the reservation customer service, (877) 444-6777.

Those customers may also want to find room at the 1,770 campsites administered by Arkansas State Parks.

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"Although the lion's share of Arkansas's public campsites are located in federal campgrounds managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, USDA Forest Service, the National Park Service, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the remaining 17 percent are operated within the State of Arkansas's state-run parks,” said State Parks Director Greg Butts. "There will be no disruption of service at Arkansas's state parks campgrounds, including lake and river access from the parks. Campgrounds are featured in 31 of the 52 state parks."

The majority of state park campsites have water and electric hookups, picnic tables, grills, and lantern hangers. Sewer hookups and 50 amp electric service are offered at several campgrounds. Some campsites are combination RV/tent sites. Tent, hike-in, group camp, horse camp, and fly-in sites are also available. And, rental RV's, tents, tepees, and yurts are available in specific parks.

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