Army Corps of Engineers waives fees on National Public Lands Day, Sept. 28
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will waive day use fees at its more than 2,400 USACE-operated recreation areas nationwide in recognition of National Public Lands Day on Sept. 28. On this day, fees normally charged at boat launch ramps and swimming beaches will be waived.
The waiver does not apply to camping and camping-related services, or fees for specialized facilities such as group picnic shelters. Other agencies and partners that manage recreation areas located on USACE lands are encouraged, but not required, to comply with this waiver of day use fees in the areas they manage.
In addition, volunteers who participate in one of USACE’s National Public Lands Day activities will be issued a fee-free coupon if the volunteer site is participating in the coupon program. Volunteers should check with their local USACE project for more information. The fee-free coupon is valid for one year from date of issue and may be used for one day of entrance or day use fees at any participating federal agency’s park, forest or recreation area that charges either of these types of fees. For more information on the fee-free day and coupons visit http://www.publiclandsday.org/highlights/fee-free-day-and-coupons.
USACE has been involved with National Public Lands Day since its inception in 1994 and has consistently been one of the event’s largest providers of sites and volunteers. As the nation’s leading federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation, USACE manages 422 lake and river projects in 43 states. With 90 percent of these projects located within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, USACE sites provide a wide range of safe, affordable, outdoor recreation opportunities close to home.
Visitors in Florida 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 and Dam North Recreation Area and the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam North and South Recreation Areas. The W.P Franklin Lock and 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 on National Public Lands 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 National Public Lands 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 Phillip Hart, the volunteer coordinator for south Florida and a park ranger at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam. “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. For more information on USACE recreation opportunities nationwide, visit www.CorpsLakes.us.
Please share photos of your family and friends enjoying any of our recreation areas on National Public Lands Day by sending them to PublicMail.CESAJ-CC@usace.army.mil. You might just see them on our Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LakeOkeechobeeOWW