by Max Brantley
A reliable source says federal budget tightening will surface in an obvious way in Arkansas later this week.
He said an announcement is expected from the Little Rock District of the Corps of Engineers about closing a number of parks and camping areas because of money shortages. Areas with small use will be targeted for closure. The state has been down this road in previous times of tight money. Closures in the Ouachita National Forest four or five years ago set off an outcry. The camping areas are popular, particularly in hard times when low-cost vacations are important.
My source predicts most closures will be north of the Arkansas River and roughtly west of a line from Little Rock to Mountain Home. Source says Lake Ouachita, under supervision of a different Corps office, will not be affected for now. If this comes to pass, the biggest portion of affected territory will be in the 3rd Congressional District, home to Republican budget hawks. They will cheer this saving of tax dollars, won't they?
Corps cuts in other areas of the country already have become evident.