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Forest Service Releases Draft Environmental Assessment for Big Brushy Campground

MENA, Ark. – Ouachita National Forest managers announced today that the Draft Environmental Assessment for Big Brushy Campground in Montgomery County, Ark., is available for public review and comment.

Big Brushy Campground, located six miles northwest of Pencil Bluff, Ark., on U.S. Hwy 270, is a small, scenic campground situated along Big Brushy Creek.  On June 4, 2012, the campground was converted from overnight use to day-use only, on an interim basis, until flood data could be studied and management options evaluated.

One year later, in the early morning hours of May 31, 2013, prolonged rainfall pushed over three feet of water into the nine unit campground, flooding all of the facilities, including camping pads, picnic tables, a pavilion, toilet and playground.  Roads into and out of the campground were covered by flood water.  According to a recent study commissioned by the Forest Service, Big Brushy Campground lies within the 100-year floodplain, with some portions in the 50-year floodplain.  The campground has been closed since May 31.

District Ranger Tim Oosterhous said, “The purpose of this project is to realign the Recreation Area in ways that reduce the risk of future flood loss; minimize the impact of future floods on human safety, health and welfare; and restore and preserve the natural and beneficial values served by Brushy Creek and its floodplains.”

After analyzing public comments received on this project, a Day Use Alternative is being considered.  Once the legal notice for this project is published, the public will have 30 days to provide timely and specific comments on the Draft EA.

For more information, or to be added to the project mailing list, contact the Mena-Oden Ranger District at (479) 394-2382.

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