Vicksburg District to keep boat ramps, nature trails open at north Mississippi lakes, but other district recreation areas remain closed

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VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District will keep its boat ramps, nature trails and fishing areas at Arkabutla, Enid, Sardis, and Grenada lakes open in north Mississippi for the time being.

According to USACE, the areas are not included in Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’ statewide shelter-in-place order, which was issued April 1 to reduce risk related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. That order will go into effect at 5 p.m. CDT April 3 and will remain in effect until 8 a.m. CDT April 20.

Nature trails, boat ramps and spillways for fishing remain open at the district’s lakes in Mississippi. Visitors to the Mississippi lakes must adhere to the governor’s executive order to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. Additionally, the Vicksburg District strongly encourages visitors to wash their hands properly, practice social distancing and follow all guidance provided by federal, state and local officials. Based on information from health officials and state recommendations to reduce non-essential travel, the Vicksburg District’s visitor centers, interpretive centers, museums, field offices and select recreation site attractions, including campgrounds and beaches, across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas have been closed to the public since March 20. Nature trails and boat ramps, including nearby amenities such as restrooms and fish cleaning stations, will also remain open in Louisiana and Arkansas.

Arkabutla, Sardis, Enid and Grenada lakes, the four Mississippi flood control reservoirs in the Vicksburg District’s area of responsibility, were authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1936, which provided a plan designed to address flooding that originated in the Yazoo Basin. The four reservoirs are used to hold runoff, or excess rainwater, as a flood-prevention measure. With approximately 3.2 million visitors each year, the north Mississippi lakes also contribute approximately $82 million into the local economy.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District

“We will continue to work hand-in-hand with our local, state and federal partners to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our team, our community and our visitors remain our top priority,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “USACE employees at our north Mississippi lakes are responsible for the protection and maintenance of not only recreation areas, but also our nation’s vital infrastructure, such as operating flood risk management structures. We are taking steps to ensure that our employees have the bandwidth to prioritize critical work related to flood risk management while considering their safety and the public’s safety. These measures are particularly important as we engage in flood fight efforts throughout the district’s jurisdiction. We thank our recreation visitors for their patience, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

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