October 25, 2012

Corps considers transfer to state of some rec sites

Corps considers transfer to state of some rec sites
 

By JILL DENNING GACKLE

Since the Garrison Dam was completed in 1954, most of the land around Lake Sakakawea was overseen by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
If discussions during the past year are an indication, the new “boss” of recreation could be the State of North Dakota.
About a year ago, state and Corps officials met to discuss the possibility of transferring management or ownership, according to Mark Zimmerman, ND Parks and Recreation manager. Todd Lindquist, operations manager of the Riverdale office, Linda Phelps, former lake manager, and Tim Kolke, real estate manager, had a meeting with Zimmerman. Zimmerman said the meeting was initiated by the Corps to discuss cuts in funding for Corps-managed lake facilities and to gauge the state’s interest in managing some of the properties.
Zimmerman said the Corps officials thought the funding would be in place in 2013 to manage sites like Downstream and East Totten Trail Campgrounds, Wolf Creek and Douglas Bay, but that 2014 was a concern.
Ryan Newman, current lake manager, said at a meeting with the Friends of Lake Sakakawea last week that the Corps felt the squeeze since contractors, who take care of mowing, fee collection, garbage and improvements, are charging more. At the same time the federal budget for recreation was being cut.
Zimmerman said there were suggestions at a meeting a year ago, and then again recently with Newman and an Oahe representative, that without some state intervention the Corps would be forced to close sites in a couple of years. One area that was mentioned was the third loop of Downstream Campground, which provides primitive camping, Zimmerman said.
Closing recreational sites concerns Zimmerman. He said that as the population increases in the state, more people will be seeking recreational facilities.


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