"Most Ouachita developed campgrounds are now open and ready for visitors, however, we wanted to make the public aware of some changes effective May 30, 2012," Forest Supervisor Norman Wagoner announced today.
Wagoner says while recreation opportunities at most developed recreation areas on the forest remain the same as in previous years, some Ouachita National Forest developed recreation areas will be closed to overnight use on an interim basis.
Concerns for public safety have prompted the Ouachita National Forest to close campsites or entire campgrounds that are known to flood or have the potential to flood, pending further study. Day use will still be allowed in these areas.
"Visitor safety is a very high priority," said Wagoner, "These changes are necessary to allow us time to analyze and mitigate risks in flood prone areas. It is also important for visitors to be aware of these changes when planning their recreation and trips to the Ouachita National Forest."
"In those areas changed to day use only, swimming, picnicking, fishing, hiking and other day use activities are still allowed, typically from 6 a.m. - 8 p.m., unless posted otherwise. The Ouachita National Forest has 13 campgrounds, with 356 campsites available for the public," said Chris Ham, Forest Service Recreation Program Manager.
The areas listed below are where changes will occur until further analysis can be completed:
- Bard Springs - Polk County: Four campsites in low-lying areas closed for overnight use, open to day use only. There are other sites at this campground that are available for overnight use.
- Bear Creek Horse Camp - Garland County: open for day use only, closed for overnight use.
- Big Brushy - Polk County: closed for overnight use, day use only.
- Charlton- Garland County: Loop B and Loop C: closed to overnight use. Loop A - remains open for overnight use. Day use area will be open.
- Knopper's Ford - Scott County: 6 sites in low lying areas closed for overnight use, day use only. Sites on higher ground, within existing picnic area, near the toilets, are open for overnight use for tent camping.
- Lake Sylvia - Perry County: Loop A, sites 12-17 would be closed to overnight use, open for day use only The remainder of the area remains open.
- Ouachita River Float Camps in Montgomery County: Dragover, River Bluff, Rocky Shoals, Fulton and Shirley Creek are day use only.
- Shady Lake - Polk County: 13 sites in low-lying areas closed for overnight use, day use only. 66 sites remain open for overnight use.
- Cedar Lake- LeFlore County: Shady Lane Loop Area: closed for all use except foot traffic. North Shore Area sites near the boat ramp: day use only. Most of the remaining Cedar Lake Recreation Area will remain open for overnight use.
- Presbyterian Falls - McCurtain County: closed for overnight use, day use only.
The three campgrounds recently impacted by flash flooding were:
- Albert Pike Recreation Area - (Ouachita) Montgomery County - 2010
- Cedar Lake Recreation Area - (Ouachita) Shady Lane Loop - LeFlore Co., OK - 2011
- Charlton Campground - (Ouachita) Garland County - 2011