Vicksburg District to keep boat ramps, nature trails open at north Mississippi lakes, but other district recreation areas remain closed

Published April 2, 2020

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Vicksburg District will keep its boat ramps, nature trails and fishing areas at Arkabutla, Enid, Sardis and Grenada lakes open in north Mississippi for the time being.

These areas are not included in Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves’ statewide shelter-in-place order, which was issued April 1 to reduce risk related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. That order will go into effect at 5 p.m. CDT April 3 and will remain in effect until 8 a.m. CDT April 20.

Nature trails, boat ramps and spillways for fishing remain open at the district’s lakes in Mississippi. Visitors to the Mississippi lakes must adhere to the governor’s executive order to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. Additionally, the Vicksburg District strongly encourages visitors to wash their hands properly, practice social distancing and follow all guidance provided by federal, state and local officials.

Based on information from health officials and state recommendations to reduce non-essential travel, the Vicksburg District’s visitor centers, interpretive centers, museums, field offices and select recreation site attractions, including campgrounds and beaches, across Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas have been closed to the public since March 20. Nature trails and boat ramps, including nearby amenities such as restrooms and fish cleaning stations, will also remain open in Louisiana and Arkansas.

As of noon CDT April 2, 1,177 COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in Mississippi, 625 in Arkansas and 9,150 in Louisiana.

“We will continue to work hand-in-hand with our local, state and federal partners to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The health and safety of our team, our community and our visitors remain our top priority,” said USACE Vicksburg District Commander Col. Robert Hilliard. “USACE employees at our north Mississippi lakes are responsible for the protection and maintenance of not only recreation areas, but also our nation’s vital infrastructure, such as operating flood risk management structures. We are taking steps to ensure that our employees have the bandwidth to prioritize critical work related to flood risk management while considering their safety and the public’s safety. These measures are particularly important as we engage in flood fight efforts throughout the district’s jurisdiction. We thank our recreation visitors for their patience, and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.”

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 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.


Jessica Dulaney

Release no. 20-031