Corps expands Mark Twain Lake restrictions

Most facilities at Mark Twain Lake have been closed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to combat COVID-19. Shown above is Clarence Cannon Dam

PERRY, Mo.❘ The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Thursday that it has closed off all access to federally operated public areas of Mark Twain Lake.

The new restrictions are in addition to those announced last week and cover all recreation areas, including boat ramps, day use areas and campgrounds at Mark Twain Lake. In a reversal, the Corps of Engineers said that all camping reservations scheduled through April 30 are now cancelled, and this date may be extended.

“Individuals with paid reservations will be contacted by email and full refunds will automatically be processed by with no cancellation fees. Individuals should not attempt to contact directly to request a refund or a cancellation fee may be charged,” the Corps said in a release. “Mark Twain Lake USACE campgrounds will remain closed until further notice. This decision was made with an abundance of caution and is intended to protect visitors and staff.”

The Corps of Engineers said that closure encompasses special events, including federal government sponsored events, interpretive programs, fishing tournaments, site visits and public meetings, which will continue to be put on hold until further notice.

“The USACE regrets any inconvenience caused by these closures but must keep the safety and health of all visitors as well as its employees as our priority in response to COVID-19,” the Corps said. “The COVID-19 situation is fluid and fast moving, and we thank you for your understanding and patience as we work through these unprecedented issues.

Corps officials said they would continue to make announcements on other modifications, closures or restrictions related at Mark Twain Lake, giving public updates as the fight to stop the spread of COVD-19 continues.

The only public access to federal areas of the lake are at Indian Creek and Blackjack marinas. At Blackjack, only boats that are moored in the marina have access to the lake. Indian Creek has a private boat launch.

Trey Zeiger, assistant operations manager of Indian Creek Marina, said there are no plans to close the ramp or to charge for lake access.

“It will remain open unless the Corps blocks access,” Zeiger said, adding that the marina store and restaurant are closed because of coronavirus restrictions.

Meanwhile, Missouri State Parks continue to allow lake access at the Route U and Route 107 boat ramps, and on hiking trails and the Buzzard's Roost Overlook area. All other structures, including the park office and Mark Twain Historic Site, are closed as a result of Gov. Mike Parson's social distancing order that was issued on March 21.

For more information on the federal areas of the lake, call the Mark Twain Lake Project Office at 573-735-4097. The phone number for Mark Twain State Park is 573-565-3440.

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