Misconception # 1: The campgrounds are closed.
FALSE. The campgrounds are open. The schedules were reduced over the winter season in order to maximize service during the busier summer months. Campgrounds are also open during spring and fall under limited schedules. See the “Tentative Campground Schedule” for specific dates.
Misconception # 2: This is only happening to Arkansas.
FALSE. Other districts throughout the Corps of Engineers are experiencing the same difficulties due to critical infrastructure maintenance issues. Many of our facilities are decades old and in need of upkeep and maintenance. Other districts like St. Louis and Ft. Worth are also looking into options on how to keep their campgrounds open year round.
Misconception # 3: the Corps can take money from Mississippi lakes and keep the campgrounds open.
FALSE. Moving money across state lines and appropriations takes Congressional level action. The Corps cannot do this on its own.
Misconception # 4: The Corps can pay for its campgrounds with the user fees it collects.
FALSE. The money collected from user fees does not go back into the project. It goes to the Treasury Department. In addition, while being allowed to retain those fees would help, the revenue would not be sufficient to cover the actual cost of doing business.
Misconception # 5: Recreation is the main mission of these lakes.
FALSE. While extremely important to the people and economy of Arkansas, Lake Ouachita, Greeson and DeGray have multiple missions. Those include Hydropower, Flood Damage Reduction, Environmental Stewardship and Water Supply. Recreation is an important mission, but we must balance the success of all missions within existing funding.
Misconception # 6: The Corps took money from Recreation to pay for Hydropower maintenance.
FALSE. Its actually the other way around. Over the years, the Corps has deferred maintenance in order to keep Recreation as fully funded as possible. However, we have come to a critical juncture where certain maintenance items cannot wait any longer. We have spread the funding as best as we can to assure maximum mission accomplishment in all of our areas of responsibility.
Misconception # 7: The Corps will be able to fix this without assistance.
FALSE. The Corps rarely if ever does anything alone. We need the support and cooperation of our stakeholders to find long term solutions.
Misconception # 8: The only solution is more funding.
FALSE. We are looking at other solutions that include cutting back on more services, balancing infrastructure maintenance with other project priorities, working with stakeholders to maximize campground openings during peak seasons, prioritizing services provided to fit within funding, and leasing campgrounds to non-Corps entities among others.