Caution urged for those planning to enjoy area lakes for holiday weekend

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is urging visitors to Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes to exercise caution while water levels are high. Campers, swimmers, and boaters visiting park areas should be aware certain amenities may be closed to the public for their protection.Boaters should be aware with the higher water conditions, objects normally out of the water are now submerged and difficult to see.The Corps says when boating near the shore and in coves, go slow and be extra cautious to avoid underwater obstacles such as sign posts, picnic tables, trees, stumps and other obstructions that are normally on dry ground. Be sure to have an observer in your boat when possible, slow down, and always wear your life jacket. Use extreme caution when boating at night, as obstructions such as floating debris are even more difficult to see at night.

Although sometimes an inconvenience, the Corps reminds everyone the current high lake level is normal.  Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes are two of the six Corps lakes in the White River basin that help reduce downstream flooding. The dams are doing just what they were designed to do.

Several campsites have temporarily been closed because of the high lake levels. However, most parks have available campsites for use, with the exception of Cranfield, Henderson, Theodosia and River Run parks.

Currently, at Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes 322 of the 750 sites available are closed because of high water impacts. Of the campsites open, some of those are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Many swimming beaches and boat launch ramps are also impacted because of the high lake levels. There is a high water boat launch ramp available for use at Lead Hill Park on Bull Shoals Lake.

Despite the higher water levels, the Corps’ Mountain Home Project Office personnel remind visitors most campgrounds and recreation areas are open for business.

For updates on available recreation areas, call the Mountain Home Project Office at 501-340-1400.

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