MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

April 3, 2013

Corps of Engineers delays opening of recreation areas around region

BOYNTON — The official season opening of the recreation areas operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers along the Arkansas River has been delayed, a media release states.

The area affected along the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System won’t officially open until at least May 1. Boat ramps will remain open where feasible, the release states.

The delayed opening is because of a fiscal year 2013 budget reduction for the navigation system. While the Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District continue to assess the recently signed continuing resolution, the district has identified potential shortfalls for the navigation system. This may necessitate the cancellation of recreation-related service contracts and it may cancel the hiring of temporary park rangers. Once the final budget is received, officials will determine whether to open the areas or suspend operation for the remainder of the recreation season. Some parks along the system may have been accessible throughout the winter with limited services, but these park openings also will be delayed.

“Once we analyze the final budget we can determine if we need to cancel these contracts and positions,” said John Marnell, deputy Operations Division chief. “Public health and safety is a top priority and we cannot safely operate these parks without proper ranger staff service and contracts.”

The impacts do not impact Tulsa District lakes.

The impacts are as follows:

• Chouteau and Newt Graham Lock and Dams

1. Afton Landing — Delayed.

2. Bluff Landing — Delayed.

3. Tullahassee Loop primitive campground — Delayed.

4. Highway 33 Landing and Coal Creek access areas will remain open for boat launching only. Services such as mowing, cleaning, and restroom availability may not be provided if previously available at these ramps.

• Robert S. Kerr Reservoir

1. Applegate Cove — Delayed.

2. Short Mountain Cove — Delayed.

3. Cowlington Point — Delayed.

4. Damsite Day Use Area — Delayed.

5. Tamaha Landing, Keota Landing, and Otter Creek access areas will remain open for boat launching only. Services such as mowing, cleaning, and restroom availability may not be provided if previously available at these ramps.

• Webbers Falls

1. Brewers Bend — Delayed.

2. Spaniard Creek — Delayed.

3. Spaniard Creek Day Use Area and Highway 10 Landing will be open for boat launching only. Services such as mowing, cleaning, and restroom availability may not be provided if previously available at these ramps.

Applegate Cove, Short Mountain Cove, and Cowlington Point campgrounds at Robert S. Kerr are the only recreation areas of these parks that accept reservations. Refunds will be issued by Recreation.gov for all reservations in the month of April.

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