BRANSON, Mo. – Because of the impacts of the government shutdown and lack of funding, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District will close the Dewey Short Visitor’s Center at Table Rock Lake in Branson until further notice.
“Due to the exhaustion of Table Rock funding and an absence of appropriations, we are closing the Visitor’s Center to the public after today,” said Little Rock District Operations Division Chief John Balgavy.
The visitor’s center is one the final Little Rock District Corps-managed recreation facilities to be affected by the government shutdown and lack of operations and maintenance funds. The Corps is also closing the William Carl Garner Visitor Center at Greers Ferry Lake in Heber Springs, Ark.
As of October 9, the District has closed 165 recreation sites, including parks and boat ramps located throughout Arkansas and Missouri. The District has furloughed over half of its employees with even more furloughs on the horizon until the government shutdown ends.
The district was able to manage the furlough of employees because of the availability of multi-year funding. As these funds dwindle, Corps officials expect more furloughs and impacts to its multi-faceted activities, including civil works, military missions, navigation, planning, real estate, recreation, regulatory and water control.
“We tried to find alternate ways to keep the visitor’s center at Table Rock open; however, since we have used all the carryover from 2013, we won’t be able to operate the center until we receive fiscal year 2014 funding.” Balgavy said.
“The Little Rock District regrets the impacts these closures are having on the public. My staff and I have personally spoken with hundreds of people who are being affected and we are doing everything within our power to help, and to mitigate impacts to our customers,” said Little Rock District Commander Col. Courtney W. Paul. “Our employees are all very anxious to get back to work and do what they do best, which is serving our Nation.”