ENID LAKE – The Corps of Engineers is reducing operations and maintenance services at Corps-operated recreational facilities in north Mississippi.
Reductions in Federal spending will significantly reduce services such as mowing, cleaning, and litter pick up; especially in remote, low-use areas, according to Kavanaugh Breazeale of the Corps Public Affairs and Communications Office in Vicksburg.
“Services will be concentrated on the more heavily-used recreational areas that are located in close proximity to the dams. For safety reasons, maintenance of the dams will remain the top priority,” he said.
In order to ensure that no campers are turned away, adjustments are being made in the seasonal schedules and availability of facilities, Breazeale added. Facilities such as shower houses and comfort stations or restrooms will continue to be operated in a safe and healthy manner, but the frequency of cleaning will be reduced.
Portions of campgrounds, known as loops, will be opened only as demand dictates. Although campers will continue to be able to use their favorite campgrounds, their favorite campsite may not be available.
At Enid Lake, all of the loops are still open, said Billy Samuels, Resource Manager for The Corps of Engineers. “What we’ve done is close some of the restrooms and comfort stations that require cleaning. The only time we’re going to open them up is on holiday weekends.”
“I’ve told some of the campers here that we’re consolidating some of our facilities,” he continued. “We’re going to concentrate on quality and not on quantity.”
Samuels, who has taken a turn running a weedeater, said that he appreciates what the Enid Lake employees are doing. “A lot of us are doing things we haven’t done in the past just to take up the slack. They’ll jump out there and do whatever needs doing to keep things looking good.”
“I’ve got a lot of folks who take great pride in Enid Lake,” said Samuels. And, not only employees, but volunteers, too. We’ve got some who are cutting the grass in the campgrounds now.”
“That’s what makes our jobs worthwhile is when our visitors say, ‘This is the prettiest place I have been.’”
Breazeale said that the Corps hopes that when visitors use project lands and facilities, that they make sure to leave them better than was found by picking up trash. “We ask that visitors be understanding when they see grass a little taller than usual. Volunteering your services to help clean up an area or provide another type of service is always greatly appreciated.”
For more information about the Corps’ volunteer program, contact the Mississippi Project Manage-ment Office at (662) 578-3873 or the Enid Lake Field Office at (662) 563-4571.