JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Nov. 1, 2011) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it will waive day-use fees for veterans, active and reserve component service members, and their families at the more than 2,400 Corps-operated recreation areas nationwide on Veterans Day, November 11.
"This Veterans Day we will honor our veterans, active and reserve service members, and their families with an invitation to visit one of the thousands of Corps recreation sites nationwide, free of charge. As an active participant of the administration's America's Great Outdoors initiative, we hope that you will join us," said Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works.
The day-use fee waiver requires only verbal confirmation of service. This waiver covers boat launch ramp and swim beach fees. The waiver does not apply to camping and camping-related services, or fees for specialized facilities such as group picnic shelters. Other agencies that manage recreation areas on Corps lands are encouraged, but not required, to offer the Veterans Day waiver of fees in the areas that they manage.
"We began this initiative in 2006 to support and honor the men and women who have served our nation and the armed forces, and to encourage them and their families to visit and enjoy one of our many recreation sites,” said Mike Ensch, Chief of Operations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
With more than 370 million visits annually to 422 lake and river projects, the Corps is the largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation in the nation. The more than 2,400 Corps-operated recreation areas nationwide provide a diverse range of outdoor activities to people of all ages, and the Corps estimates that 90 percent of its recreation projects are within 50 miles of metropolitan areas.
Veterans, service members and their families can take advantage of the day-use fee waivers at several locations within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District. For those who enjoy boating, there are three Corps boat ramps along the Caloosahatchee River, including the Ortona Lock & Dam North Recreation Area and the W.P. Franklin Lock & Dam North and South Recreation Areas. The W.P Franklin Lock & Dam South Recreation Area also features a visitor center with interactive exhibits and a swimming beach with a manatee sculpture where children can climb and play. Those who live on the east side of Lake Okeechobee can use the boat ramp and visitor center at the St. Lucie Lock & Dam Recreation Area.
“Wherever you choose to recreate on Veterans Day, please remember to check your safety equipment before water activities and always wear a life jacket,” said Adam Tarplee, natural resource program manager.