Don't try to camp at Carlyle Lake or visit the Gateway Arch

News-DemocratOctober 1, 2013 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will close all the campgrounds that it operates, including those at Carlyle Lake, if the government shutdown continues.

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis also is closed during the shutdown.

If a deal to end the shutdown isn't reached, Carlyle Lake will be shut down Wednesday.

Doug Wasmuth, a natural resource specialist with the Corps of Engineers, said he did not know how many people were on the campgrounds Tuesday. He said no new campers were permitted to enter as of midnight Tuesday and all remaining campers will be asked to vacate by 8 p.m. Wednesday.

"There are several reservations slated for the weekend," Wasmuth said. "If this is not resolved, they will have to be canceled and refunded."

Those with reservations may leave their campsite reservations open if the shutdown is lifted. Campers will receive a refund for any unused portion of their reservations. The reservation service will automatically cancel reservations after a customer's scheduled departure date during the shutdown period if the customer chooses to do nothing.

All boat ramps and recreational areas are locked and barricaded off at Carlyle Lake, where the Corps of Engineers operates four campgrounds around the lake. However, Wasmuth said the Corps will continue to operate the main water dam and other "critical operations" around the lake.

Wasmuth also said campers could access a couple of nearby state parks during the federal government shutdown because these recreational areas are operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. One is the Carlyle Lake Fish and Wildlife Area at the north end of Carlyle Lake and has two river access boat ramps onto the Kaskaskia River. The other is Eldon Hazlet State Park about three miles north of the lake.

"Hopefully, all of this gets resolved pretty soon so we get back to normal operations," Wasmuth said.

Those with reservations at the lake's campsites and wish to request a refund should call the reservation customer service at 1-888-448-1474. For more information, visit www.mvs.usace.army.mil.

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

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