JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will waive day-use fees normally charged at boat launch ramps and swimming beaches at its recreation areas nationwide on Sept. 26 in recognition of National Public Lands Day.
The waiver will 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 Corps lands are encouraged, but not required, to comply with this waiver of day-use fees.
In addition, volunteers who participate in one of the Corps’ National Public Lands Day activities will be issued a fee-free coupon if the volunteer site is participating in the coupon program.
Jacksonville District will be holding a volunteer event at the W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam Recreation Area near Alva on Saturday, September 26.
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.
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 the $3 boat ramp fee at the St. Lucie South Recreation Area, Ortona North Recreation Area, W.P. Franklin North boat ramp, and W.P. Franklin South Recreation Area, as well as the $1 swimming beach 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 George Melanson, natural resource program 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.” For more information on Corps recreation opportunities nationwide, visit www.CorpsLakes.us.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 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 water-based recreation, the Corps manages more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states. With 90 percent of these projects located within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, Corps sites provide a wide range of safe and affordable outdoor recreation opportunities close to home.
Please share photos of your family and friends enjoying Corps recreation areas on as comments on our morning National Public Lands Day posts on the Lake Okeechobee and the Okeechobee Waterway Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LakeOkeechobeeOWW and the Jacksonville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JacksonvilleDistrict.