Three Arkansas parks that closed last week due to flooding reopened today. The US Army Corps of Engineers tracked rising waters, notified campers, and managed the clean-up for lakes Ouachita, DeGray, and Greeson.
Park Ranger Bill Jackson says high water at the lakes is actually a sign flood damage reduction strategies are working, by preventing water from threatening vulnerable areas downstream.
"Of course the primary purpose for Lake Ouachita and Blakely Mountain Dam is flood control, flood reduction on downstream areas. So, therefore we were holding the waters that were coming in through the Ouachita River and the tributaries through Lake Ouachita," says Jackson.
The Corps of Engineers says most of the campgrounds and areas of the lake are now free of debris.
"Little Fir recreation area was hit the hardest. That's one of the first recreation areas developed on the lake. We had several tons of debris material that had to be cut up, piled up, and removed," says Jackson.
Jackson says although the water rose quickly, they successfully monitored and managed the situation according to a high water response plan. There are no reports of any injuries or missing people as a result of the flooding.
Three years ago 20 people died during flash flooding at the Albert Pike campgrounds in southwest Arkansas. Since then officials have implemented procedures to better protect people.