POTOSI, Mo. (February 9, 2017) – Forest Service managers are developing plans to address flooding issues at Red Bluff Recreation Area, a Mark Twain National Forest signature site located near Davisville, in Crawford County, Missouri. Feedback is being sought from the public about what opportunities or improvements are desired. Information received will be considered during completion of the recreation site rehabilitation plans.
Red Bluff Recreation Area is situated along Huzzah Creek. Two camping loop roads and associated campsites, along with a picnic pavilion, are located in its floodplain. High water and flash flood events present a hazard to the public, particularly overnight campers. These safety concerns, combined with the cumulative financial impact of repairing flood-damaged facilities, present a clear need to question the sustainability of safe facilities in the Huzzah Creek floodplain.
The Forest Service has studied and surveyed Red Bluff Recreation Area in order to put forth a proposal to address safety and sustainability issues. The proposal involves the relocation of campsites, restrooms, and picnic pavilion out of the Huzzah Creek floodplain, followed later by the restoration of the floodplain.
Phase 1 of the project would focus on the redevelopment of infrastructure to improve safety and accessibility, accommodate modern camping equipment, and reduce deferred and annual maintenance costs. This first phase, as proposed, would involve relocation of overnight camping facilities out of flood prone areas to the ridge above the creek, and would bring existing campsites not affected by flooding up to current standards.
“There is a need to make changes at Red Bluff, but we anticipate Mark Twain National Forest visitors would still be able to enjoy camping at the existing sites until the new campsites are completed,” stated Potosi-Fredericktown District Ranger Becky Ewing. “We are just in the planning stages now, so it will likely be a couple years before construction would start.”
Based on engineering studies, the Pines Overlook camping loop could remain in its present location. Engineers determined there is room enough for up to two new camping loops on the ridge above the existing campsites located in the floodplain. The same amount, or even slightly more campsites, including group sites, could be constructed around these two loops. New campsites would meet Forest Service and industry standards, along with the Architectural Barriers Act standards and Forest Service outdoor recreation accessibility guidelines.
Survey results also show that there may also be room for other amenities, such as showers, a dump station, and an additional host site.
“We are asking people to help us during this planning phase by sending us comments about what opportunities or improvements are desired in the new camping loops, and what day-use activities are preferred in the flood prone areas,” Ewing said. “Comments received by March 15, 2017, will be most useful to us as we finalize the plans.”
Survey work for Phase 2 of the project is scheduled for 2017. Hydrology and engineering experts will be taking measurements of the Huzzah Creek channel and floodplain in order to identify the restoration activities needed to re-establish the floodway channel and improve stream channel stability. The Phase 2 proposal calls for roads and campsite spurs to be removed. Many day-use activities can likely align with floodplain restoration work, such as swimming, fishing, floating and hiking. Public feedback will be useful in finalizing restoration plans.
Ewing pointed out that additional information about the Phase 1 proposal is available for review. “We have placed copies of the conceptual designs for the rehabilitation work on the Mark Twain National Forest website.”
Comments about Phase 1 or Phase 2 of the project can be submitted to the Forest Service by using this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Twain National Forest is the largest public land manager in Missouri with 1.5 million acres in 29 counties in southern and central Missouri. Mark Twain National Forest is managed to restore Missouri’s natural communities and maintain a healthy, working forest. For more information, please visit the Mark Twain National Forest website at http://www.fs.usda.gov/mtnf, follow us on twitter @marktwain_nf, and like us on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/marktwainnationalforest.