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Vicksburg District to reopen select recreation areas in Louisiana, Arkansas June 1

Published May 18, 2020

VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District will reopen select campgrounds and other recreation areas within the jurisdiction of its Louisiana Field Office – Bayou Bodcau, Caddo Lake, Wallace Lake, the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway and the Ouachita-Black River – beginning June 1. 

Campgrounds that will reopen at Bayou Bodcau include Tom Merrill, South Abutment East and Wenk’s Landing. The collection of campground fees has been suspended until further notice to reduce risk to park rangers and visitors.

The recreation area at Caddo Lake will reopen. The recreation area at Wallace Lake will reopen pending the completion of parking lot and guardrail repairs.

Recreation areas along the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway that will reopen include Joe D. Waggoner Jr. Lock and Dam, Russell B. Long Lock and Dam, Lock and Dam 3, John H. Overton Lock and Dam and Lindy C. Boggs Lock and Dam. 

Recreation areas along the Ouachita-Black River that will reopen include Riverton, Finch Bayou, Old Lock and Dam 8, H. K. Thatcher Lock and Dam, Felsenthal Lock and Dam, Sterlington, Moon Lake, Bawcomville and Prairion.

Shower facilities, comfort stations and dump stations where available will be open. Boat ramps, nature trails, individual picnic sites and fishing areas, as well as nearby amenities, remain open.

The collection of fees at campgrounds has been suspended through July 1. After July 1, all campsite reservations and payments must be made in advance exclusively online at Recreation.gov. The move to online reservations and payments is intended to reduce risk to park rangers and visitors.

All pavilions, beaches, playgrounds and drinking fountains will remain closed until further notice. These closures are intended to prevent large gatherings and common use of high-touch surfaces.

All USACE field offices and visitor centers will remain closed to the public until further notice. Applications for special use permits must be submitted online and will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis.  

The collection of all day use fees has been suspended until October 1.

Visitors to USACE Vicksburg District recreation sites must practice social distancing and adhere to any other mandates issued by local, state and federal officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Vicksburg District strongly encourages visitors to wash their hands properly, stay at home if they are experiencing symptoms and follow any guidance provided by local, state and federal officials.

For more information about operational changes, the public may contact the following:

• Bayou Bodcau: 318-949-1804

• J. Bennett Johnston Waterway: 318-354-8770

• Ouachita-Black River: 318-322-6391

“After consulting with our local and state partners and other USACE offices, we have decided to reopen select campgrounds and recreation sites within our Louisiana Field Office’s jurisdiction,” said USACE 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 taking measures to reduce risk. The pandemic is an ongoing and fluid challenge, and we will continue to monitor conditions and adjust operations as needed. We are eager to welcome visitors back to our facilities, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

Located from south central Arkansas to central Louisiana, Bayou Bodcau, Caddo Lake, Wallace Lake, the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway and the Ouachita-Black River are flood control reservoirs and navigation projects with multiple additional missions, including natural resource management. At these USACE recreation sites, and unlike sites managed by others, employees are responsible for the protection and maintenance of these critical missions.

The USACE Vicksburg District temporarily closed select recreation site attractions across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas to the public in March. All Vicksburg District visitor centers, interpretive centers and field offices will remain closed until further notice. 

The USACE 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 USACE 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. 20-043