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Contact: Caven Clark, Public Information Officer, 870/365-2790
Buffalo National River has released its operational plan of visitor facilities for FY14. With the backdrop of declining budgets and staffing, many campgrounds will be closed for a significant portion of the year. However, the overall plan is more liberal than last year's plan with a select number of locations remaining open on a trial basis.
Basically, the operating plan is structured to reflect a typical season wherein the Upper District (Boxley to Mount Hersey) sees most of its visitation in the early part of the year when its river levels are at their peak. The Middle District (Mount Hersey to South Maumee) is next with peak use in the middle of the summer, while the Lower District (North Maumee to Rush) tends to have the best recreational water later in the year.
Visitors will find some changes next year, such as the absence of trash cans and recycling bins in many localities. The park is asking the public to "Give Us a Hand" and pack out what you pack in. The prime mover is the expense of waste removal services, but also the larger context of resource stewardship and the "leave no trace" ethic play a role in this decision. This move is not unique to Buffalo as several other national parks have made the same decision this year.
Several locations will remain open, including restrooms, throughout the year although they will be serviced for only a few months during out peak season. These locations will not require pumping more than once during a normal off-season period and will remain open for visitor convenience. This is being tried on an experimental basis with the hope that visitors will assume the responsibility of insuring that objects such as bottles, cans, or other large items that will block a septic pump will not be deposited in toilets.
Last year the park was gratified when four campgrounds were reopened in response to volunteer agreements for periodic cleaning. We hope to engage in similar opportunities this year as well.
Download 2014 Ops Plan here.