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Vicksburg District to temporarily close visitor centers, field offices, recreation areas to the public
VICKSBURG, Miss. —
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District will temporarily close its visitor centers, interpretive centers, field offices and select recreation site attractions across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas to the public beginning March 19.
The affected visitor and interpretive centers include the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center in Shreveport, Louisiana; the Grand Ecore Visitor Center in Natchitoches, Louisiana; the Grenada Lake Visitor Center in Grenada, Mississippi; and the DeGray Lake Visitor Center in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. These centers will each close March 19.
The affected field offices include those at Arkabutla, Enid, Sardis and Grenada lakes in Mississippi; Lake Greeson, DeGray Lake and Lake Ouachita in Arkansas; Bayou Bodcau in Louisiana; and the Louisiana Field Office in Monroe, Louisiana. These offices will each close March 19.
The public will be unable to receive in-person customer service or purchase recreation passes from all of the district’s visitor centers, interpretive centers and field offices beginning March 19. The public is encouraged to contact the offices and centers via telephone for customer service and to purchase recreation passes online at the following link: https://store.usgs.gov/pass.
All district campgrounds will be closed March 23. Visitors to the campgrounds must depart no later than 4 p.m. March 22. All scheduled campground reservations after March 22 will be canceled. Refunds will be provided through Recreation One Stop, which is available online at Recreation.gov or via telephone at 1-877-444-6777.
All district day use areas will be closed as soon as possible but no later than March 23. All scheduled pavilion and special event registrations will be canceled. Visitors who had registrations should contact the appropriate field office for refund information.
At this time, the recreation sites’ boat ramps and nearby amenities, including restrooms and fish cleaning stations, will remain open.
For more information about closures, cancelations and other operational changes, the public may contact the following:
• Arkabutla Lake: 662-562-6261
• Enid Lake: 662-563-4571
• Grenada Lake: 662-226-5911
• Sardis Lake: 662-563-4531
• Bayou Bodcau, Caddo Lake, Wallace Lake: 318-949-1804
• J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center: 318-677-2673
• Grand Ecore Visitor Center: 318-354-8770
• Louisiana Field Office: 318-322-6391
• Lake Ouachita: 501-767-2101 (extension 7-3006)
• DeGray Lake: 870-246-5501 (extension 6-4021)
• Lake Greeson: 870-285-2151 (extension 5-5005)
These closures and cancelations are due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) concern and recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USACE guidance to avoid large gatherings of people. As of 9 a.m. CDT March 18, 34 COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in Mississippi, 22 in Arkansas and 196 in Louisiana.
“Based on the need to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Vicksburg District has decided to temporarily close our visitor centers, interpretive centers, field offices, and select recreation areas and to cancel events at our recreation sites in the coming weeks,” said Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “The health and safety of our team, our community and our visitors remain our top priority, and we are committed to doing our part to reduce risk. We thank our recreation site visitors for their patience, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.”
The Vicksburg District owns and operates more than 100 recreation areas across Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana where millions of visitors enjoy fishing, camping, hunting, boating, hiking, swimming, geocaching and more every year. The district’s 10 flood control reservoirs across Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana provide numerous benefits to the region, including flood risk management, hydropower, water supply, wildlife management and recreation.
The Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The district encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.
Status on Campground Reservations
Dub Patton Campground is currently the only campground accepting reservations. South Abutment and Hernando Point Campgrounds will remain walk-in only for right now and we will alert via web page and social media when those areas are open for reservations again.
To make a reservation at Dub Patton Campground, please visit www.recreation.gov
Recreation Area Closings
A few recreation areas remain closed due to high water. We apologize for this inconvenience and will update this list as water recedes and areas are reopened.
The following areas are temporarily closed:
South Abutment- Day Use and Beach
Hernando Point- Day Use and Beach
Two Recreational Policies Change for North Mississippi Corps Lakes
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District announces the update of two recreational policies at Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid, and Grenada Lakes effective June 1, 2018.
Policy updates are for the length of stay in campgrounds and the use of low speed vehicles in campgrounds. The length of stay for camping at Arkabutla, Enid, Grenada, and Sardis lakes is 14 consecutive days. At the end of a camper’s 14-day stay, the camper may apply for an extension for up to 14 additional days. During the peak season of March-October, one extension may be granted per visit for a total stay of 28 consecutive days. In non-peak season, November-February, up to two extensions may be granted per visit for a total stay of 42 consecutive days.
At the end of the campers’ stay, they must leave the campground for 14 days before returning, but may move to another campground at the same lake during this time. Prior to this, the lakes had different peak seasons and length of stay policies differed from lake to lake and sometimes campground to campground.
The low speed vehicle policy will primarily affect golf cart users within campgrounds. For many years, campers have been allowed to operate golf carts within campgrounds at these lakes. This policy update will limit golf cart use to only persons with permanent disabilities. Persons who wish to operate a golf cart in campgrounds at Arkabutla, Enid, Grenada, or Sardis will be required to obtain a free permit from the field offices at each of these lakes. Each permit may be used for a period of one calendar year, and permit holders will be given a decal to affix to their golf carts.
Arkabutla Lake has a new kayak launch!
If you’ve ever spent time in a kayak you know that they can be unsteady when you board them to launch. Also, kayakers often get their feet wet and muddy when launching and then transfer the water and mud to the inside of the kayak. Our new kayak launch, located on the boat dock at Dub Patton Recreation Area provides kayakers a steadier, drier launch site. It also allows kayakers to keep their feet dry and free from mud. Because it is made from plastic, it also helps to protect the bottom of the kayak that can be damaged by launching from concrete boat ramps or rocky shorelines. Click on the link below to see a demonstration of how the kayak launch works.
EZ Kayak Launch
Hernando Point Mountain BikeTrail
The partnership between North Mississippi Trail Alliance and the US Army Corps of Engineers at Arkabutla Lake has proven to be mutually beneficial and a great asset to the bike enthusiast. After the completion of the Bayou Point Single Track Mountain Bike Trail, the NMTA began mapping and designing a large trail system to be located between Hernando Point Recreation Area on the west and Highway 51 on the east. The trail was designed and will be implemented in three stages; a 2.2 mile novice loop, an 8 mile intermediate loop, and a 16 mile advanced loop. The 2.2 mile novice loop, named The Backwater Loop, has been completed and is open for use. The intermediate loop, known as the Possum Kingdom trail, is currently under construction. It begins at the northeast corner of the Backwater trail and goes east towards Tulane road. Phase 3 of the project will extend the trail even further east near Highway 51 Landing Recreation Area. The terrain and elevation of this section of the trail will be suitable for advanced biking. There is a map attachment of the entire proposed trail below, as well as pictures of the trail construction. Once completed, the trail system will span approximately 26 miles in length! The Hernando Point trail system is located on USACE land bordered by private property. In certain locations the trail system is located on or in close proximity to the USACE boundary. The USACE boundary is marked by yellow paint on trees and fence posts. Please remain on the trail at all times and respect adjacent landowner’s privacy
For more information on the current bike trails, to join or volunteer with NMTA, and to get the latest updates, visit their website at nomissta.org. Also, to report misuse of trails or additional information on Arkabutla Lake and other recreational opportunities available, please call the Arkabutla Lake Field Office at (662) 562-6261.
Hernando Point Single-Track Mountain Bike Course Map
FISH STRUCTURE PLACEMENT REGULATION
All persons placing structure(s) in Sardis, Arkabutla, Grenada, and Enid lakes must abide by the terms outlined in the following regulations according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) Title 36.
The placement of untreated, wooden structures in the lake basin for the purpose of fish habitat is authorized. Artificial wooden “grabbling structures” are also authorized. Natural structures may not be altered and used to “hand fish” from. Other structures made of plastic, PVC, metal, and other non-biodegradable materials are NOT allowed. Any person(s) installing a structure not in compliance with this regulation may be subject to a citation under Title 36.
The placement of trees are allowed along with an appropriately sized anchoring device which may be made of concrete, brick, or stone. Any anchor(s) other than these approved materials will be in violation and subject to fines and penalties.
Structures may not be placed within 300 feet of any designated swimming area or beach. These structures should not be placed in any areas where they may become boating hazards such as directly below or adjacent to any boat ramp.
Cultural Resource Protection – Visitors are reminded that the removal of historical and archaeological features (material from old house sites, arrowheads, human remains, etc.) is prohibited.
If caught, looters face arrest, fines of up to $20,000 and imprisonment for disturbing these safeguarded areas.
ATTENTION RECREATION USERS!
Day Use Fees
Beach Fees: $2/walk-in, $5/vehicle, $20/bus and no fees for children under 16 y/o
Boat Ramps: $5/vehicle
Special Use/Facility Fees
Special Events: $75/event
Class A – Dub Patton, Hernando Pt. &
South Abutment Campgrounds: $20/night/year round/not to exceed 14 days
but extensions are available
Class C – Outlet Channel: $10/night (1 May-30 Sep) Free (1 Oct-30 Mar)
14 days only – no extensions, year round
Class D – Kelly’s Crossing & Pleasant Hill
Campgrounds: $8/night (1 May – 30 Sep Free (1 Oct-30 Mar)
14 days only – no extensions, year round
*Interagency Annual/Senior/Access/Volunteer/Military Passes and Golden Age/Access Passports are valid for covering standard amenity recreation fees for all USACE areas and recreational area of other Federal agencies participating in the America the Beautiful National Parks and the Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program. Interagency Senior/Access and Golden Age/Access Passports are also valid for a 50 percent reduction in single/family unit camping fees but are not valid for Pavilion Rentals and Special Event Permits.
Passes: USACE Annual Pass: $40 yearly
Interagency Annual Pass: $80 yearly
Interagency Lifetime Senior Pass: $80 lifetime
Interagency Annual Senior Pass: $20 yearly
Interagency Access Pass: Free lifetime
Interagency Military Pass: Free yearly
Interagency Volunteer Pass: Free yearly
Interagency Every Kid in the Park Pass Free 1 Sep-31 Aug, year of issue
*Purchase of the Annual Senior Pass can be applied towards the cost of the Lifetime Senior Pass
RULES FOR SAFE OPERATION OF OFF-ROAD VEHICLES AT ARKABUTLA, SARDIS, ENID, AND GRENADA LAKES. CLICK HERE!
Life Jackets are Mandatory at MS Lake
The following life jacket rules are being enforced at all four of the Vicksburg District-North Mississippi lakes at Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada.
All persons must wear a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket at all times:
- while swimming outside of designated swimming areas.
- while skiing or being pulled by a vessel, regardless of vessel length.
- on powered vessels 16 to 26 feet in length whenever under power by the main propulsion unit.
- on powered vessels less than 16 feet in length or on non-powered vessels regardless of length.
For more information, contact the Arkabutla Lake Field Office at 662.562.6261 or the MS Project Management Office at 662.578.3873 or 662.712.1201.
Arkabutla Lake – Emergency Contacts After Hours
With over 40,000 acres of land and water to manage at Arkabutla Lake and a limited number of Ranger personnel available to offer visitor assistance, sometimes it may be difficult to locate a Ranger, especially after our regular office hours (Mon-Fri, 7:00am-3:30pm) when our telephones are unmanned.
If you are having an emergency after office hours or on the weekend and you need assistance, sometimes the best approach is to contact the local Sheriff’s Department. Arkabutla Lake occupies two Mississippi counties in northwest corner of the state, Tate and Dsto. These local law enforcement agencies have a 24-hour dispatcher that can communicate with field personnel at Arkabutla Lake as well as Search and Rescue Units, Aviation Units, Emergency Medical Response and much more. Their contact numbers are:
Desoto County – 662-429-1470
Tate County – 662-562-4434
Your Safety – Our Concern
Arkabutla Lake – Policy
Duck Blind Policy – Effective since March 2009, duck blind permits are no longer being issued. Only temporary/portable blinds for waterfowl hunting are permitted. All blinds and associated applications (decoys, camouflage, etc.) must be removed from project lands on a daily basis and may not remain on the project overnight. Blinds that use nails, screws, or spikes to attach to trees are strictly prohibited. Placement of duck blinds shall not be used as a means of reserving a favorite hunting location. This policy has been instituted to provide an equal opportunity to all project users and to also provide a safer environment for the visiting public.
Deer Stand Policy – Effective since March 2009, Arkabutla Lake no longer allows deer stands to be left overnight on Government Property. Past practices associated with the Deer Stand Policy led many users to the mistaken conclusion that a given area of public property was reserved by the deer stand owners. This was never the intent of the deer stand policy. This updated policy was instituted to provide an equal opportunity to all project users and to also provide a safer environment for the visiting public. Portable hunting stands, climbing devices, steps, or blinds that are not nailed or screwed into trees may be used. These portable hunting stands, climbing devices, steps, or blinds must be occupied at all times. Fixed tower stands and shooting houses are prohibited. Stands or structures that are found violation of this policy shall be considered an unauthorized structure and will be subject to summary removal or impoundment by project personnel. Questions and Comments may be directed to Arkabutla Lake Field Office at the following email address: [email protected]