The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on Tuesday its season closures for parks and campgrounds at the Lake O’ the Pines in Jefferson and at Wright Patman Lake in Texarkana, Texas.
“The seasonal closures will be enacted to better align services with past utilization and to maximize the experience for customers during the peak recreation season,” officials said. “The seasonal closure location and timing decisions were determined by reviewing recent and past year facility utilization data. Boat ramps will not be impacted by the seasonal closure.
“It is each lake’s goal to continue to provide recreational opportunities to as many visitors as possible,” officials said.
At Jefferson’s Lake O’ the Pines, the Brushy Creek Campground will be closed from Oct. 1, 2018, through Sept. 30, 2019. Johnson Creek Campground will be closed Nov. 12, 2018 through Feb. 28, 2019.
“Due to significant repairs required related to the 2018 storm event at Brushy Creek Campground and the unavailability of funding to make needed repairs, the campground portion of the park is scheduled to remain closed for fiscal year 2019,” officials said.
The March 2018 storm took the life of a camper, 40-year-old Mary Pinney, of Belvieu, as she slept in a tent at Brushy Creek Campground.
“(She) was struck and killed by a wind-blown large tree that fell on the tent that she and her family were camping in,” Marion County Sheriff David McKnight reported, at the time. “Mrs. Pinney’s husband was seriously injured in the accident and transported to an area hospital.”
Fortunately their three children, who were also in the tent, were not injured. The Pinney family was among several families visiting the campgrounds to kick off the commencement of Spring Break.
“The campground was full when the storm struck,” Sheriff McKnight said. “Many children and teenagers were present and getting an apparent jump start on next week’s spring break. “
“Apparent straight line winds blew down large trees inside the campground and in other residential neighborhoods in the area. Numerous power lines were down and roads were blocked by fallen trees and debris,” he noted, at the time.
The extreme thunderstorms and high winds also heavily damaged vehicles, RVs and the tent area.
Robert Henderson, national resource specialist noted, at the time, that 66 sites were occupied. A total of 240 people were registered to stay at the park.
McKnight noted that the few people that sustained minor and moderate injuries were transported to hospitals by private vehicle.
Henderson said the other three creek parks/campgrounds sustained very little damage. He said, apparently, Brushy Creek, which is located on the southwest shore of Lake o’ the Pines, took the brunt of the straight line winds.
Although Brushy Creek and Johnson Creek are set for temporary closing, Buckhorn Campground will be open for the season.
“Due to historical use patterns, Buckhorn Campground will remain open as normal throughout the year with all amenities fully operational,” US Army Corps of Engineers said.
At Wright Patman Lake in Texarkana, Texas, Rocky Point Park Campground will be closed from Nov. 1, 2018 through Feb. 28, 2019. Malden Lake Park Campground is closed from May 31, 2019 through Sept. 30, 2019.
Due to historical use patterns and the diversity of facilities, Clear Springs Park Campground will remain open as normal throughout the year with all amenities fully operational.
Additional questions may be asked at 903-665-2336 for Lake O’ the Pines and 903-838-8781 for Wright Patman Lake.