Corps of Engineers announce phased reopening of campgrounds


KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District is planning a phased reopening of campsites and recreation areas closed due to COVID-19, to begin immediately.

The decision to reopen each recreation area is based largely on the safety of the staff and visitors. Each lake is going through a conditions-based assessment to verify all staff can return to work safely and will have the proper personal protection equipment available. In addition, they are confirming the availability of contractors and staff who help operate and maintain the recreation areas and implementing operational changes to address COVID-19 concerns in campgrounds.

The Kansas City District will reopen some recreation areas and campsites at Stockton and Pomme de Terre lakes for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. The Corps will honor reservations previously made in these areas and a Corps staff member will be contacting customers regarding reservations. These areas will not be open for walk-in camping. A portion of campsites will remain closed to reduce capacity in the parks. Some campgrounds will open before others with most lakes in the Kansas City District beginning a phased reopening on June 1, 2020.

Customers transitioning back into park areas can expect to see some changes. Campground reservations and payments must be made online at To protect the staff and visitors, no cash or checks will be collected onsite. Campers are encouraged to have self-contained camping units to reduce the amount of traffic and congestion at park facilities. Some non-reservable campsites and/or parks will remain closed. Visitor centers, playgrounds, shelters and swim beaches may reopen once local guidelines and conditions allow. Most boat ramps, trails and day use areas will remain open.

A complete list of Kansas City District recreation area status updates can be found online at:

In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has suspended the collection of day use fees until Oct. 1, 2020. These suspended fees apply to all beach and boat ramp fees within the Kansas City District. For those who have previously purchased annual passes for the year, the Kansas City District is extending the expiration date of annual passes by seven months.

Social distancing and other restrictions required by local, state and federal authorities to include the Centers for Disease Control will be in place. Current guidance provided by the CDC can be found online at If these restrictions cannot be followed, recreation areas could be forced to close again.

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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