While national parks, wildlife refuges and national forests across the country have been closed by the government shutdown, properties belonging to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are holding their own, at least for the immediate future, keeping access to Lake Hartwell, Lake Russell and Clarks Hill (Thurmond) Lake open to the public.
Lake Hartwell, Lake Russell and Clarks Hill (Thurmond) Lake open to the public.
Tracy Robillard, a Corps spokesperson, said the agency is relying on some alternate sources of funding to continue operations.
“Currently, all (USACE) parks that are normally open this time of year remain open,” she said. “However, parks may be closed at a later time depending on the duration of the shutdown.”
Many of the day-use areas and campgrounds on Lake Hartwell have already closed for the season, however, the three remaining campgrounds have a little more than two weeks funding based on a surplus from last year’s budget already allocated.
“At Hartwell Lake, the Springfield, Watsadler, and Twin Lakes campgrounds will remain open until checkout time (2 p.m.) on Oct. 20,” she said. “All other campgrounds are already closed in accordance with our normal seasonal closure schedule. All day-use areas and boat ramps that are normally open this time of year will remain open until Oct. 20. The Hartwell Visitors Center is closed during the government shutdown.”
A similar though alternate source of funding from some timber-management revenues is allowing Corps properties on Clarks Hill to remain open beyond the initial government closures.
“At Thurmond Lake, the Leroy's Ferry and Bussey Point campgrounds – and a portion of Petersburg Campground – remain open through Oct. 10,” Robillard said. “However, we may be able to keep these campgrounds open through the Columbus Day holiday (Oct. 14). All day-use areas and boat ramps that are normally open this time of year remain open at least through Oct. 10. The Thurmond Visitors Center is also open to the public.”
Robillard indicated that no properties situated along Lake Russell would be affected by the shutdown because those areas fell under jurisdiction and funding provided by the South Carolina State Parks system.