Improvements to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ campgrounds around Norfork and Bull Shoals lakes south of the Arkansas-Missouri state line have been upgraded, the Baxter Bulletin recently reported.
Most of the improved campsites can now accommodate 50-foot recreational vehicles and offer 50-amp electrical service in addition to the basic amenities.
Along with the bigger, reconfigured campsites, 2011 parks’ visitors will find new toilet and shower facilities at the Corps’ major parks—Jordan, Cranfield, Robinson Point, Tucker Hollow, and Lakeview—in places before served by pit- or vault-type toilets that did not include showers.
Money for the upgrades came in part from special federal appropriations to restore parks following 2008 record floods and a major ice storm in 2009 that brought down trees on lakeside fixtures around both lakes. By stretching the money the Corps has created a more aesthetically pleasing and user-friendly camping environment.
Campers will also experience a complete reworking of the popular Robinson Point Recreation Area on Norfork Lake. There the swimming beach and boat launch areas will trade locations.
The new beach area offers better shelter for swimmers and gatherings on the shore away from waves and wind coming from the larger channel of the lake. The new boat launch facilities provide boaters with deeper waters in which to launch.
April 1 is the official opening date for the Corps parks. The Corps maintains campsites totaling about 800 on the two lakes.
The Corps anticipates an increased number of destination campers this year as people look for recreational opportunities closer to home in this recovering economy.
One of the great joys of RVing is visiting new places and making interesting discoveries. And the upgraded campground and recreational facilities provide yet another reason to visit this area brimming with scenic beauty and outstanding recreational opportunities. We’ve just added the Arkansas Ozarks to our “bucket list”.
Corps of Engineers and Outdoor Recreation
The Army Corps of Engineers is one of the nation’s largest providers of outdoor recreation, operating more than 2,500 recreation areas at 463 projects (mostly lakes) throughout America and leasing an additional 1,800 sites to state or local authorities and private interests. Projects vary from small flood control projects to large lakes with multiple purposes, such as hydropower, navigation, water supply, flood control, and, of course, outdoor recreation. Most projects have a full range of recreation facilities such as campgrounds, picnic areas, visitor centers, boat ramps, and marinas.
As with the campgrounds provided by the US Forest Service, your searching is simplified by Recreation.gov.
You can search for a campground by entering your personal preferences and then choosing a campground from the results.
Each campground page will tell you a little bit about the area and show a detailed map of that campground’s layout. You can then choose the area of the campground that interests you and read specifics about each campsite to find one that meets your needs. Information about special events, services and amenities is also provided. Once you have found a campsite you like, just a click of your mouse and you can make a secure online reservation.
You can also plan your camping adventure at the Army Corps of Engineers website.
We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in, for it can be a means of reassuring ourselves of our sanity as creatures, a part of the geography of hope.
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