APPLING, Ga. (WJBF) – Overall, we’ve had great weather during this COVID-19 pandemic. Boat ramps operated by the Army Corps of Engineers are now open but their campgrounds are closed.
Rob Buller lives in Augusta. He said, “I’ll be honest, in the back of my head I thought I heard Monday but I was hoping they would be open to at least come and drive through. Even if you weren’t camping yet. Maybe they would at least let you come through and look.”
Gates are closed at campgrounds managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. Buller was mapping out a trip.
“This is for Petersburg,” he said while reading his list.
Many people took advantage of the boat ramps opening Friday. Everything below Thurmond Dam on the South Carolina side is open too.
Billy Birdwell with the Army Corps of Engineers said, “Our day-use areas will still remain closed. As well as our swim beaches and the playgrounds. In addition, the State of the South Carolina and the State of Georgia, which lease property from the Corps of Engineers, have already opened up their mega-ramps.”
Corps campgrounds will open May 18.
Buller has gone camping many times with his family but he’s looking for some new scenery. He said, “I think we would like this here [Petersburg]. We’ve never actually stayed here. We’ve had friends that stayed here and they’ve always talked about how nice it is.”
When camping resumes, restrictions will be in place to ensure safety for visitors during this health crisis. Campers can only make reservations online and social distancing will be enforced.
“We still limit any one campsite to 10. We think that’s still a reasonable number to have at a campsite and I think people will respect that,” said Birdwell.
Only registered campers are allowed to be at the campgrounds. No visitors. Reservations for campsites are filling up fast for Memorial Day weekend. Some campgrounds are already fully booked.
Birdwell explained, “They’re not going to be taking any reservations on-site or future reservations. And we’re also asking people that are registered to print out that registration before they arrive at their campsite. That way there will be even less interaction passing physical things back and forth with our volunteers.”
You will have to bring your own life jacket. The Corps is not lending them out.
Birdwell reminded anyone who is on or near water needs to have a life jacket on. COVID-19 can kill you, drowning always does.
Below are all the restrictions:
Restrooms at boat ramps currently in use will be re-opened. Additional boat ramps not associated with closed day-use areas will reopen. Visitors must bring their own soap and hand sanitizer and paper towels when using restrooms.
► Campers must make all reservations through the Recreation.gov website. No cash collection, on-site reservations or future reservations will be taken on site.
► Visitors with camping reservations should print their registration form before arriving at the campgrounds. This will help limit transferring material between the public and the campground staff.
► Individuals camping in trailers and motorhomes with shower and restroom facilities should use the facilities in their trailer or motorhome to assist in ensuring proper social distancing and to reduce occupancy at the restroom-shower houses in the campgrounds.
► Visitors must bring their own soap and hand sanitizer and paper towels when using restrooms.
► Visitors must follow social distancing guidance established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state or local limits.
► Congregating in groups of more than 10 will not be allowed.
► Campsite occupancy is limited to 10 per campsite.
► Only registered campers will be allowed in the campgrounds.
Campgrounds opening May 18:
- Ridge Road
- Hawe Creek