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Corps to host workshops discussing changes in park operations | Environment

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Corps to host workshops discussing changes in park operations
Environment
Corps to host workshops discussing changes in park operations

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District is hosting five public workshops in February to discuss proposed changes in operations at 29 of its parks because of budget cuts.

Although there will be no group presentations, the public is invited to drop by any time during the workshops and talk one on one with Corps representatives about the proposed recreational changes, provide input and learn more about volunteer and potential partnership opportunities. Written comments will also be accepted at the workshops. 

The Corps is looking for partners willing to take over operations and maintenance duties at affected facilities to help keep them from closing.

For individuals interested in the proposed recreational changes at Clearwater Lake, the workshop will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Feb. 9, at the Clearwater Project Office adjacent to Clearwater Dam in Piedmont, Mo.

For those interested in the proposed changes at Greers Ferry Lake, the workshop will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Feb. 9, at the William Carl Garner Visitor Center on Hwy 25 North just west of Greers Ferry Dam near Heber Springs, Ark.

The workshop covering changes at Lake Nimrod, Lake Dardanelle and Toad Suck Ferry and Murray pools of the Arkansas River, will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Feb. 14.  It will be held at the Russellville Project Office at 1598 Lock and Dam Road in Russellville, Ark.

For individuals interested in the proposed recreational changes at Ozark Lake, the workshop will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Feb. 16.  It will be held at the Arkansas Valley Electric Cooperative at 1811 West Commercial Street in Ozark, Ark.

For those interested in the proposed changes at Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes, the workshop will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Feb. 21, at the Mountain Home Project Office at 324 W. Seventh Street in Mountain Home, Ark.

Little Rock District is considering changing recreation operations at 29 parks, including closing 13 campgrounds, four partial campgrounds, four day use areas, one partial day use area, and 9 boat ramps.  Also under consideration is making the recreation season shorter at many additional parks.  Other likely park adjustments include reducing the frequency of trash pick-up, cleaning and mowing.  Maintenance response times are likely to increase.  And the district expects to hire fewer temporary park rangers and contract park attendants. 

The district’s operation and maintenance budget has been cut about $17 million this year.  The proposed recreation changes will reduce costs by an estimated $1.9 million annually ($921,000 for operation and maintenance expenses and $989,000 for labor).  The district is exploring additional cost savings in its other missions as well.

Little Rock District operates 178 public parks and access areas.  Making adjustments to the 8 percent of its park facilities that are less efficient will allow the district to place more emphasis on the remaining 92 percent.

More information about proposed changes to specific recreation areas is available on Little Rock District’s website at http://www.swl.usace.army.mil/news&info/news/2012/02-12.pdf.  Information is also available on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/littlerockusace.

Environment