VICKSBURG, Miss. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District will reopen select recreation areas at its Arkansas lakes – Lake Ouachita, Lake Greeson and DeGray Lake – and incorporate preventative health measures beginning June 24.
Beaches and swimming areas will reopen, and visitors to these areas are encouraged to follow all guidance from local, state and federal officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That guidance includes practicing social distancing and wearing face masks when not in the water.
Picnic shelters, pavilions and group use areas will reopen, and information about the number of visitors in a group will be requested during the reservation process. Visitors to these areas must follow state directives for gatherings at large outdoor venues.
Signs with information about COVID-19 symptoms, measures to prevent the spread of the virus and social distancing have been installed in key locations at each facility, including shower houses, comfort stations, fee booths, bulletin boards, beaches, access roads, day use area parking lots and pavilions. Park rangers and other lake personnel are taking recommended precautions to reduce risk for visitors as well as themselves.
“After consulting with our local and state partners and other USACE offices, including the Little Rock District, we have decided to reopen select recreation areas at our Arkansas lakes,” 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 thank them for their understanding.”
Campgrounds and their accompanying amenities at Lake Ouachita, Lake Greeson and DeGray Lake reopened May 20, and reservations and payments for select campsites must be made in advance at Recreation.gov. For up-to-date information about campgrounds and other recreation operations, please visit the following link: https://go.usa.gov/xwfVT.
Boat ramps, nature trails and fishing areas as well as nearby amenities remain open. Applications for special use permits will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. The collection of all day use fees has been suspended until Oct. 1.
All playgrounds, visitor centers, field offices, amphitheaters and drinking fountains will remain closed until further notice. Interpretive programs will remain suspended until further notice. The USACE Vicksburg District temporarily closed select recreation site attractions across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas to the public in March.
For more information about operational changes, the public may contact the following:
• Lake Ouachita: 501-767-2101
• DeGray Lake: 870-246-5502
• Lake Greeson: 870-285-2151
Located in southwest Arkansas, Lake Ouachita, Lake Greeson and DeGray Lake are flood control reservoirs with multiple additional missions, including hydropower, water supply and wildlife 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 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.