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Vicksburg District to keep boat ramps, nature trails open at Mississippi lakes and provides new boating requirements

Published April 22, 2020

VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District will keep its boat ramps, nature trails and fishing areas at Arkabutla, Enid, Sardis and Grenada lakes open in north Mississippi.

Arkabutla, Sardis, Grenada and Enid lakes are not included in the recreation areas that will be reopened through the governor’s April 17 order, which has allowed select state beaches, parks, reservoirs and other areas to reopen on a limited basis. The Vicksburg District’s visitor centers, interpretive centers, museums, field offices and select recreation site attractions, including campgrounds and beaches, across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas have been closed to the public since March 20. These areas will remain closed until further notice.

Visitors to the Vicksburg District’s Mississippi lakes must adhere to the governor’s executive order to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. Additionally, visitors must practice social distancing on recreational vessels. Visitors must limit the number of occupants on their boat to 50% of the maximum capacity. The Vicksburg District strongly encourages visitors to wash their hands properly, stay at home if they are experiencing symptoms and follow all guidance and mandates provided by federal, state and local officials.

“If you’re going to go boating on our lakes, you need to follow CDC, state and local guidelines on social distancing,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “We will continue to work hand-in-hand with our local, state and federal partners to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our team, our community and our visitors remain our top priority.”

On April 16, the Vicksburg District announced that it has temporarily closed select boat ramps and restrooms at Arkabutla, Sardis and Grenada lakes in north Mississippi due to high water and power outages. A complete list of those closures is available at the following link: https://go.usa.gov/xv93C

With the exception of these temporary closures, the lakes’ boat ramps, nature trails and fishing areas have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and were not affected by Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’ April 1 statewide shelter-in-place order.

Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada lakes, the four Mississippi flood control reservoirs in the Vicksburg District’s area of responsibility, were authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1936, which provided a plan designed to address flooding that originated in the Yazoo Basin. The four reservoirs are used to hold runoff, or excess rainwater, as a flood-prevention measure. With approximately 3.2 million visitors each year, the north Mississippi lakes also contribute approximately $82 million into the local economy.

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 Vicksburg 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.

Jessica Dulaney

Release no. 20-039