Shutdown shutters parks on lake

Jennifer Shrader Staff writer

October 1, 2013

Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said this morning corps-operated parks and day use areas around West Point Lake are closed and campers must leave the premises.

Campers on site will have until 3 p.m. Wednesday to vacate campsites.

To request a refund on campsite reservations, campers may call 1-888-488-1474.

While further details were slim this morning, the corps released the following information in April 2011 when a shutdown was threatened, but averted.

Gates would be locked, and signs and barricades will be put up at parks where there are no gates, the corps said then. Campers would have 24 hours to vacate. Access to boat ramps and picnic areas would stay open, but the corps warns those who visit during the shutdown. Restrooms would be locked, and there wouldn’t be any trash pickup or cleaning services. Those who visit would be asked to take their trash out with them when they leave.

About 20 total employees – between park rangers and the West Point Dam power house – would be a skeleton crew to stay on during any closure, the corps said two years ago. West Point Dam, which is operated remotely from the corps’ regional Mobile, Ala., office, would continue to generate power.

Not everything on the lake is closed.

Southern Harbor and Highland Marina Resort, both privately operated, are open and would operate as usual. Pyne Road Park, which is managed by Troup County and home to the area’s “mega” boat ramp, also is unaffected by a shutdown.

The Troup County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for patrolling parks where corps rangers are unable to get during the shutdown.

“It’s no extra burden on us,” said sheriff’s spokesman Stewart Smith. “If this was July, it would be an issue.”