Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Campground Shutdowns Spur Outcry

It was the cause of great disappointment when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced some time back that it was closing during the fall and winter months many of the campgrounds at the lakes it operates.

It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but when there’s a nip in the air, that’s precisely the time of year when camping is at its prime for many. No bugs (specifically, no ticks or chiggers), spiders or snakes. No crowds. On the lakes, few boats. Lots of quiet, enough of it that a squirrel’s every move can be heard from about as far away as one can see him. And building a campfire is a welcomed and essential part of the evening activities.

Over the years, state and federally owned campgrounds have been left open. The toilets and hot showers were turned off. There was no electricity. And fees were paid on the honor system.

But the campground itself was unlocked and available — and used.

The anger over losing the sites, for once, didn’t fall on deaf ears. The blessed public contacted the Corps and complained, and they contacted U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, D-Ark., who put additional heat on the Corps.
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