The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District will reopen select beaches and recreation areas at its Mississippi lakes – Arkabutla Lake, Sardis Lake, Enid Lake, and Grenada Lake – and incorporate preventative health measures beginning Monday, July 6th.
The following beaches will open at Enid Lake: Hickory Ridge, Persimmon Hill, Chickasaw, and Long Branch. Plum Point Beach will remain closed until water levels decrease and is estimated to reopen in late July.
Beaches that will reopen at Grenada Lake include North Abutment Beach. Willow Run, Oak Grove, and Cape Retreat beaches will reopen when water levels allow, estimated for August. Main Beach will remain closed due to flood damage and reopen when conditions allow.
Beaches that will reopen at Sardis Lake include Paradise Point and Main Beach on July 13. Cypress Point Beach will reopen when water levels allow.
South Abutment Beach at Arkabutla Lake will remain closed due to high water levels and reopen when conditions allow, estimated for August. Hernando Point Beach will remain closed for the recreation season due to extensive tornado damage in the area.
Picnic shelters, playgrounds, pavilions, and common areas will reopen July 6, and information about the number of visitors in a group will be requested during the reservation process. Visitors must follow state directives for gatherings at large outdoor venues.
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Visitors are encouraged to follow all guidance from local, state, and federal officials, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Signs with information about COVID-19 symptoms, measures to prevent the spread of the virus and social distancing have been installed in key locations at each facility, including shower houses, comfort stations, fee booths, bulletin boards, beaches, access roads, day-use area parking lots and pavilions. Park rangers and other lake personnel are taking recommended precautions to reduce the risk for visitors as well as themselves.
“After consulting with our local and state partners and other USACE offices, including the Mobile District, we have decided to reopen select recreation areas at our Mississippi lakes,” said USACE 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 taking measures to reduce risk. The pandemic is an ongoing and fluid challenge, and we will continue to monitor conditions and adjust operations as needed. We are eager to welcome visitors back to our facilities and thank them for their understanding.”
Boat ramps, nature trails, and fishing areas as well as nearby amenities remain open. Applications for special use permits will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis. The collection of all-day use fees has been suspended until October 1, 2020.
All visitor centers, field offices, amphitheaters, and drinking fountains will remain closed until further notice. Interpretive programs will remain suspended until further notice. The USACE Vicksburg District temporarily closed select recreation site attractions across Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas to the public in March.