U.S. Army Corps of Engineers waives day-use fees at recreation areas on Veterans Day

Published Nov. 7, 2012

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers waives day-use fees at recreation areas on Veterans Day

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 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.
"We honor our veterans, active and reserve service members, and their families this Veterans Day with an invitation to launch a boat or swim at one of our beaches free of charge, said Maj. Gen. Michael J. Walsh, USACE Deputy Commanding General for Civil Works and Emergency Operations.

The day-use fee waiver requires only verbal confirmation of service. This waiver covers fees for boat launch ramps and swimming beaches. The waiver does not apply to camping and camping-related services, or fees for specialized facilities such as group picnic shelters. USACE does not charge an entrance fee to access its parks. Other agencies that manage recreation areas on USACE lands are encouraged, but not required, to offer the Veterans Day waiver of fees in the areas that they manage.

"We first began the Veterans Day fee waiver in 2006 as a way to honor the men and women who have served our nation and the armed forces, and to encourage them and their families to spend some time together enjoying America’s great outdoors,” added Walsh.

With more than 370 million visits annually to 422 lake and river projects, USACE is the largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation in the nation. It’s estimated that 90 percent of the more than 2,400 USACE-operated recreation areas nationwide are within 50 miles of metropolitan areas and offer a diverse range of outdoor activities to people of all ages. To discover the recreation site nearest you, please visit http://corpslakes.usace.army.mil/visitors/visitors.cfm

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.

The day-use fee waiver for veterans, active and reserve component service members, and their families on Veteran’s Day will include:

• W.P. Franklin North boat ramp  $3 boat ramp fee
• W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area $3 boat ramp fee; $1 swimming beach fee
• Ortona North Recreation Area  $3 boat ramp fee
• St. Lucie South Recreation Area  $3 boat ramp fee

“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.

“If you visit us at St Lucie, Ortona or W.P. Franklin please don't hesitate to speak with one of our park rangers if you have any questions,” said Rick Pelzl, chief of the natural resource management section and supervisory park manager. “Remember that we have free loaner life jackets available at our recreation areas to ensure you have a safe visit while boating or just swimming.”

For information on the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam Recreation Area in Alva, call 239-694-2582. To find out more about the St. Lucie Recreation Area in Stuart, call 772-219-4575. Additional information can be found online at www.saj.usace.army.mil and then clicking “Recreation” or visiting www.owwvisitorcenters.com.

Please share photos of your family and friends enjoying any of our recreation areas on Veterans Day, by sending them to PublicMail.CESAJ-CC@usace.army.mil. You might just see them on our Facebook page!

Tweet about the good times you have had on Veterans Day at Corps recreation areas using hashtags #StLucie, #Ortona, #WPFranklin, #VeteransDay or #USACE.


Erica Robbins

Release no. 12-083