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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers closes areas of Lake Whitney over COVID-19 concerns

Posted at 12:54 PM, Jun 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-12 13:57:29-04

The U.S Army Corps Of Engineers have closed areas of Lake Whitney due to safety concerns involving COVID-19.

Army Corps of Engineers closed Soldiers Bluff and Walling Bend Parks at Whitney Lake on June 9 due to recent safety concerns.

"In recent weeks, large crowds have been gathering in and around Soldiers Bluff and Walling Bend Park. The size of the crowds, some estimated to have been as large as 600 people, have caused concern for public safety related to COVID-19," said the Army Corps of Engineers on Facebook. "In an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19, #USACE urged customers to follow social distancing and other CDC guidelines as parks were reopened in May. The recent crowds at Soldiers Bluff and Walling Bend Park have not been in compliance with those COVID-19 CDC guidelines."

“The health of our team and the community is our top priority,” said Col. Kenneth N. Reed, USACE Fort Worth District commander. “Protecting our team includes mitigating the spread of the virus and ensuring personnel have the most up-to-date information on appropriate measures to prevent potential spread of COVID-19.”

The Army Corps of Engineers also say the inundation of these areas by crowds of several hundred individuals have also impacted the land and natural resources on public and private property.

Large amounts of garbage and other debris have been left behind by these crowds and vegetation has been damaged due to the number of vehicles being operated and parked off of designated roads and parking lots and the excessive foot traffic along the cliffs, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

“It appears that the main activity of these crowds has been cliff diving,” said Whitney Lake manager, Abraham Phillips. “This is a dangerous activity that can lead to serious injury or death and rules and regulations governing USACE property prohibits cliff jumping or diving at USACE lakes.”

Additional closures may be made by the district office based on local health and safety concerns.

They say you can help keep parks clean by properly disposing of your trash. Always wear a life jacket while boating or anytime you are in or near the water.

Visitors should follow CDC’s guidelines regarding social distancing and remain diligent. Observe the six-foot social distancing guidelines. Do not visit parks and recreation areas if you are sick or have any of the COVID-19 symptoms. Keep groups and gatherings to less than 10 people.