Vicksburg District to temporarily close visitor centers, field offices, recreation areas to the public

VICKSBURG – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District will temporarily close its visitor centers, interpretive centers, field offices and select recreation site attractions across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas to the public beginning March 19.

The affected visitor and interpretive centers include the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center in Shreveport, Louisiana; the Grand Ecore Visitor Center in Natchitoches, Louisiana; the Grenada Lake Visitor Center in Grenada, Mississippi; and the DeGray Lake Visitor Center in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. These centers will each close March 19.

The affected field offices include those at Arkabutla, Enid, Sardis and Grenada lakes in Mississippi; Lake Greeson, DeGray Lake and Lake Ouachita in Arkansas; Bayou Bodcau in Louisiana; and the Louisiana Field Office in Monroe, Louisiana. These offices will each close March 19.

The public will be unable to receive in-person customer service or purchase recreation passes from all of the district’s visitor centers, interpretive centers and field offices beginning March 19. The public is encouraged to contact the offices and centers via telephone for customer service and to purchase recreation passes online at the following link: https://store.usgs.gov/pass.

All district campgrounds will be closed March 23. Visitors to the campgrounds must depart no later than 4 p.m. March 22. All scheduled campground reservations after March 22 will be canceled. Refunds will be provided through Recreation One Stop, which is available online at Recreation.gov or via telephone at 1-877-444-6777.

All district day use areas will be closed as soon as possible but no later than March 23. All scheduled pavilion and special event registrations will be canceled. Visitors who had registrations should contact the appropriate field office for refund information.

At this time, the recreation sites’ boat ramps and nearby amenities, including restrooms and fish cleaning stations, will remain open.

For more information about closures, cancelations and other operational changes, the public may contact the following:

•    Arkabutla Lake: 662-562-6261

•    Enid Lake: 662-563-4571

•    Grenada Lake: 662-226-5911

•    Sardis Lake: 662-563-4531

•    Bayou Bodcau, Caddo Lake, Wallace Lake: 318-949-1804

•    J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center: 318-677-2673

•    Grand Ecore Visitor Center: 318-354-8770

•    Louisiana Field Office: 318-322-6391

•    Lake Ouachita: 501-767-2101 (extension 7-3006)

•    DeGray Lake: 870-246-5501 (extension 6-4021)

•    Lake Greeson: 870-285-2151 (extension 5-5005)

These closures and cancelations are due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) concern and recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and USACE guidance to avoid large gatherings of people. As of 9 a.m. CDT March 18, 34 COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in Mississippi, 22 in Arkansas and 196  in Louisiana.

“Based on the need to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Vicksburg District has decided to temporarily close our visitor centers, interpretive centers, field offices, and select recreation areas and to cancel events at our recreation sites in the coming weeks,” said Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “The health and safety of our team, our community and our visitors remain our  top priority, and we are committed to doing our part to reduce risk. We thank our recreation site  visitors for their patience, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

The Vicksburg District owns and operates more than 100 recreation areas across Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana where millions of visitors enjoy fishing, camping, hunting, boating, hiking, swimming, geocaching and more every year. The district’s 10 flood control reservoirs across Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana provide numerous benefits to the region, including flood risk management, hydropower, water supply, wildlife management and recreation.

The Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The district encompasses a 68,000-square-mile area across portions of Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana that holds seven major river basins and incorporates approximately 460 miles of mainline Mississippi River levees. The district is engaged in hundreds of projects and employs approximately 1,100 personnel.

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