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Shutdown curtails camping, hunting and fishing on federal lands

Date10/01/2013
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LITTLE ROCK – The federal government shutdown is affecting fishing and hunting on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuges and camping on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects in Arkansas. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is reminding anglers, hunters, hikers, campers and others that the federal shutdown could change their plans.

AGFC Director Mike Knoedl said the federal government shutdown could influence people’s outdoor recreation plans in Arkansas. “If you’re heading for federal wildlife refuges to scout, hunt or fish, that activity is prohibited,” Knoedl said. “Arkansas Game and Fish Commission lands will remain open and our officers will be on duty,” he added.

USFWS land and facilities are closed due to the lapse in appropriation for 2014. For more information on the shutdown, go to http://www.doi.gov/shutdown/index.cfm.

The Little Rock District, Corps of Engineers is preparing for the closure of all Corps-operated campgrounds and day-use parks, affected recreation areas will not reopen until after the shutdown is lifted. Corps parks leased to partner agencies and concessionaires will remain open, but cannot be supported by the Corps while the shutdown is in place. Campers who are on site prior to the shutdown going into effect will be required to vacate campgrounds not later than 8 p.m. on Oct. 2.

If there is not a resolution before next week, there will be no hunting allowed within the Buffalo National River boundary. That could possibly affect the elk hunt for next week.

Gates to all U.S. Forest Service developed areas will be locked where applicable. However, the forests will remain open to public recreation.

Knoedl said boat ramps may also be closed, which impacts access to Corps lakes. “Closures may include visitor centers and gates on all access points,” he said. Wildlife management areas leased by the AGFC on Corps property will be open and managed by the AGFC. Boat launch ramps inside Corps campgrounds will be inaccessible. All other launch ramps will be open.

Before heading out to your favorite Arkansas Corps lake, go to http://www.usace.army.mil/ or call 501-324-5551 to find out about public access.