Mark Twain National Forest offers free recreation

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Mark Twain National Forest will offer two days of free day-use and two free nights of camping at eight campgrounds June 13-14.

Free camping is being offered in unreserved campsites operated by Mark Twain National Forest Friday and Saturday nights June 13-14.

Free day use is being offered at unreserved sites Saturday and Sunday, June 14-15.

The free weekend is being offered in conjunction with National Get Outdoors Day, which is June 14.

The free use is available in these campgrounds and associated recreation areas:

* Cobb Ridge, in the Chadwick Motorcycle and ATV Area in Christian County

* Greer Crossing on the Eleven Point River in Oregon County

* Lane Spring in Phelps County

* Loggers Lake in Shannon County

* Marble Creek in Madison County

* Markham Springs in Wayne County

* North Fork along the North Fork of the White River in Ozark County

* Watercress on the Current River in Carter County.

In addition to the above sites, there are several day-use sites and less developed campgrounds on the forest, as well as dispersed recreation areas, that are free year-round. These free sites include:

* Berryman in Washington County

* Bar-K in Christian County

* Dry Fork in Callaway County

* Paddy Creek in Texas County

All of these areas have facilities for equestrian camping.

Motorized trail permits are still required for use of Chadwick and Sutton Bluff trail systems, and normal fees still apply.

Normal fees also apply to Mark Twain National Forest sites operated by concessionaires, including:

* Council Bluff in Iron County

* Deer Leap and Float Camp in Ripley County

* Red Bluff in Crawford County

* Silver Mines in Madison County

* Sutton Bluff in Reynolds County

National Get Outdoors Day is a designated annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun and participation in traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities, while providing ongoing opportunities for people to connect to the outdoors year-round.

"We offer free camping and day use to show our appreciation of our 'forest owners' and to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors," said Mark Twain National Forest Supervisor Bill Nightingale. "We hope to inspire families and groups to get out and enjoy being on a trail or in the forest, and to do activities that promote healthy living and mental well-being, reconnecting with the natural world and instilling excitement for the outdoors."

The forest will be offering free use again later in the fall to celebrate National Public Lands Day on Sept. 27 and Veterans Day Weekend on Nov. 8-11.

For more information about the Mark Twain National Forest, go to www.fs.usda.gov/mtnf or contact your local Mark Twain National Forest office.

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.

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