Update on the Status of the Big Spring Lodge and Cabins

Big Spring Lodge
Big Spring Lodge

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News Release Date: December 8, 2016

Contact: Dena Matteson, 573-323-4814

VAN BUREN, MO:  The Big Spring Lodge and Cabins are a beloved feature of the Big Spring area and are a popular destination for visitors to Ozark National Scenic Riverways. They have been operated by private concessioners under contract with the National Park Service (NPS) as an essential visitor service for many years. At the conclusion of the most recent concession contract in the fall of 2014, the deterioration caused by decades of use and deferred maintenance prompted the NPS to close the facility until restoration work could be completed. Because of the historical significance of the Big Spring Lodge and Cabins, the planning and design work for modifications and improvements to the facilities and surrounding landscape is a complex and lengthy process.  

Superintendent Larry Johnson announced today that progress is being made toward accomplishing some significant milestones in the restoration process.  “While behind the scenes planning efforts have been underway for some time, progress will be more visible as construction work begins in 2017. In addition, progress is being made toward establishing a new long-term concession contract for the operation of the dining lodge and cabins.”

He continued,  “After our maintenance crews have repaired the critical health and safety issues, it is our goal to re-open the Big Spring Lodge and Cabins as soon as possible. We know that while the major renovations are a few years out, having the facility occupied by a concessioner and in use again, before the major renovation work, is the best way to preserve these irreplaceable historic structures. We’re working on the new concession contract prospectus that will reflect the temporary disruption of services during renovations. Our intent is to have the critical repairs done, the concessions contract completed and the facility re-opened sometime in 2017.”

An updated schedule for completion of major projects has been tentatively established. This schedule is subject to adjustment as progress continues:


  • Fall and Winter 2016: Work proceeds on the development of a new long-term concession contract prospectus for operation of Big Spring Lodge and Cabins.
  • January 2017: Completion of the Cultural Landscape Report for the Big Spring area, which is required before major restoration work on the Lodge and Cabins can begin.
  • Spring 2017:  Completion of repairs to correct health and safety issues.
  • Spring 2017: Replacement of Big Spring Bridge begins.
  • Fall 2017:  Replacement of the failing Big Spring area electrical and sewer systems begins.  
  • Summer 2018: Completion of Big Spring Bridge replacement.
  • Summer 2018 : Replacement of electrical and sewer systems complete.
  • 2019: Architectural and engineering design for the Big Spring Lodge and Cabins begins.
  • 2020: Big Spring area water system replacement planning begins.
  • 2020: Construction begins to rehabilitate the Big Spring Lodge and Cabins.
  • 2020: Begin construction to stabilize and restore two stone retaining walls, stone walkways, boat ramp, and benches damaged from repeated flood events. Completion date to be determined.


For information on Ozark National Scenic Riverways, visit the park Facebook page, the park website at www.nps.gov/ozar or phone (573)323-4236. Updates will be provided as the project progresses.  Ozark National Scenic Riverways preserves the free-flowing Current and Jacks Fork Rivers, the surrounding resources, and the unique cultural heritage of the Ozark people.  


 About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.govon Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTubewww.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.

Last updated: December 15, 2016

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 490
Van Buren, MO 63965


(573) 323-4236

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