Vicksburg, Miss. --
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 July 6.
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. For up-to-date information about recreation operations, please visit the following link: https://go.usa.gov/xwfVT.
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 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 Oct. 1.
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.
For more information about operational changes, the public may contact the following:
• Arkabutla Lake: 662-562-6261
• Sardis Lake: 662-563-4531
• Enid Lake: 662-563-4571
• Grenada Lake: 662-226-5911
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 USACE 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 USACE Vicksburg District is engineering solutions to the nation’s toughest challenges. The Vicksburg 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.