by Tulsa District Public Affairs
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District is unable to open Corps-operated campgrounds along the Oklahoma portion of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System for the 2013 recreation season. Funding for the Oklahoma portion of the navigation system has been reduced to the point where we are not able to safely open and operate the campgrounds.
John Marnell, Deputy Operations Division chief said, “We delayed opening any of the parks until we could fully analyze our budget for the 2013 recreation season. We also heard from the public of the need to have access to the boat ramps. We were able to fully open Bluff Landing Park with camping and to keep boat ramps open at eight other locations including Tullahassee Loop. Because of the dramatically reduced budget, we had no choice but to cancel service contracts for the parks as well as the hiring of summer park rangers. Public health and safety is our top priority and we cannot safely operate the parks without proper ranger staff and service contracts.” Marnell also said there are commercial services available at the marinas at Three Forks and Applegate Cove.
“The lock and dams, powerhouses, and the continued operation and maintenance of the navigation system are critical to our nation’s infrastructure and economic growth,” said Marnell. “We had to make tough decisions that allow us to still provide these high priority critical services while operating within a reduced budget.”
The closings impact only recreation areas along the navigation system and do not impact other Tulsa District lakes and their campgrounds.
Although fees are collected at many of the campgrounds and day use areas along the navigation system, all fees collected are returned to the US Treasury and are not retained for local use by the Tulsa District.
While the impacts of temporary closing of these campgrounds will be felt by the public, there are alternatives at other Corps recreation areas at nearby lakes. The closest alternative for campgrounds at R.S. Kerr and Webbers Falls is Tenkiller Lake at 20-30 miles. Fort Gibson is the closest alternative for Chouteau and Newt Graham at 15 miles.
Tulsa District is receptive to working with tribal, state and local governments and other governmental entities to potentially lease these recreation areas.
Applegate Cove, Short Mountain Cove, and Cowlington Point campgrounds at R.S. Kerr are the only campgrounds being closed for the season that accept reservations. If you have made reservations for camping at any of the closed parks please call 877-444-6777 for a full refund or to rebook at a campground that is open.
The impacts are as follows:
Chouteau and Newt Graham Lock and Dams
1. Afton Landing- Closed for the season
2. Bluff Landing- Fully open for the season
3. Tullahassee Loop primitive campground- The boat ramp access is open with no services
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.
R.S. Kerr Reservoir
1. Applegate Cove- Closed for the season
2. Short Mountain Cove- Closed for the season
3. Cowlington Point- Closed for the season
4. Damsite Day Use Area- Closed for the season
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.
1. Brewers Bend- Closed for the season
2. Spaniard Creek- Closed for the season
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.