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 USACE-operated recreation areas nationwide on Veterans Day, November 11.
The fee waiver requires only verbal confirmation of service. The 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 waiver 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,” said James R. Hannon, USACE Chief of Operations in Washington, D.C.
"We invite our veterans, active and reserve service members, and their families this Veterans Day to launch a boat, swim at one of our beaches, or just spend some time together enjoying America’s great outdoors free of charge,” said James R. Hannon, USACE Chief of Operations in Washington, D.C.
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 and Dam North Recreation Area near Moore Haven, and the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam North and South Recreation Areas in Alva.
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 and Dam Recreation Area in Stuart.
The day-use fee waiver for veterans, active and reserve component service members, and their families on Veterans 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 George Melanson, Natural Resource Manager in the South Florida Operations Office in Clewiston. “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.”
USACE is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor and water-based recreation hosting more than 370 million visits annually to its 404 lakes and river projects. It’s estimated that 90 percent of the USACE-operated recreation areas are within 50 miles of metropolitan areas offering diverse outdoor activities for all ages close to home. To discover a USACE recreation site nearest you, please visit http://corpslakes.usace.army.mil/visitors/visitors.cfm.