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Corps: Many Okla. Campgrounds Won't Open

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May 14, 2013 by   - () Leave a Comment

The majority of Corps-operated campgrounds along the Oklahoma portion of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System will not be opening for the 2013 recreation season.

In a news release today (May 14), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said the main reason was funding, KOTV-TV, Tulsa, reported.

The release states "funding is being reduced to the point where we are not able to safely open and operate the campgrounds."

"We delayed opening any of the parks until we could better assess our funding limitations for the 2013 recreation season. We also heard from the public of the need to have access to the boat ramps. We were able to fully open Bluff Landing Park with camping and to keep boat ramps open at eight other locations including Tullahassee Loop. However, because of funding constraints, we had no choice but to cancel service contracts for the other parks along the navigation system as well as the hiring of summer park rangers. Public health and safety is our top priority and we cannot safely operate the parks without proper ranger staff and service contracts," said John Marnell, Deputy Operations Division chief.

Marnell says the lack of funding will not impact the navigation system.

"The lock and dams, powerhouses, and the continued operation and maintenance of the navigation system are critical to our nation's infrastructure and economic growth. We had to make tough decisions that allow us to still provide these high priority critical services while operating with fewer funds," said John Marnell.

Marnell says the closings will only impact recreation areas along the navigation system. He says Tuesday's announcement will not impact other Tulsa District lakes and their campgrounds.

The impacts are as follows:

Chouteau and Newt Graham Lock and Dams

  • Afton Landing- closed for the season
  • Bluff Landing- fully open for the season
  • Tullahassee Loop primitive campground – The boat ramp access is open with no services
  • Highway 33 Landing and Coal Creek access areas will remain open for boat launching only. Services such as mowing, cleaning, and restroom availability may not be provided if previously available at these ramps.

R.S. Kerr Reservoir

  • Applegate Cove- closed for the season
  • Short Mountain Cove- closed for the season
  • Cowlington Point- closed for the season
  • Damsite Day Use Area- closed for the season
  • Tamaha Landing, Keota Landing, and Otter Creek access areas will remain open for boat launching only. Services such as mowing, cleaning, and restroom availability will not be provided if previously available at these ramps.

Webbers Falls

  • Brewers Bend- closed for the season
  • Spaniard Creek- closed for the season
  • Spaniard Creek Day Use Area and Highway 10 Landing will be open for boat launching only. Services such as mowing, cleaning, and restroom availability may not be provided if previously available at these ramps.

The Corps office in Tulsa says it is receptive to the idea of working with tribal, state and local governments to potentially lease these recreation areas.

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