HOT SPRINGS -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has closed numerous campsites and boat ramps on Lake Ouachita until its water level recedes.
Closures include Big Fir and Buckville boat ramps; Brady Mountain campsites No. 47, 48, 50-54, and camper's beach; Crystal Springs campsites No. 23-37, 47-52, 55, 57, and camper's beach; Joplin Park campsites 15-17, 46-63, camper's beach and campground boat ramp; Tompkins Bend campsites 59-77; Little Fir campsites 8-13, 16, 17, 19-24; and the Twin Creek Day Use Area and beach.
Derick Walker, supervisory ranger, Lake Ouachita Field Office, said it's not uncommon for these sites to be closed because of high water any time from April to June. However, increased fall rain has made for higher lake levels in early spring, he said. Rangers measure water levels using feet above mean sea level (msl).
"This same time last year, we were at 577.06 [feet] msl," Walker said. "As of 10 a.m. [Wednesday], we are at 581.4 [feet] msl and rising."
"We have a high-water plan that tells us what to do at each foot up to 592, at which point the water starts running over the spillway," he said. "Currently, we're just executing our high-water plan to 583."
According to the Corps of Engineers, the National Recreation System -- recreation.gov -- will be contacted to cancel all reservations for campsites affected by the high-water conditions and those campers will be fully refunded.
Walker advised guests of Lake Ouachita to abide by area closings and not to cross barricades. He also said boaters should watch for debris washed into the lake from the recent heavy rains and let others know where they will be boating.
State Desk on 05/10/2019
Print Headline: High water closes sites at Lake Ouachita