The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) is known as one of the premier organizations managing public camping across the US.
The Corps has thousands of campgrounds on more than 450 lakes and waterways nationwide. Corps areas are managed for a wide range of recreational activities. Hunting, fishing, hiking, bird watching, and mountain biking are just a few of those. Managing such a diverse array of public grounds and an equally diverse set of users can be challenging, but the Corps strives to ensure all citizens have access to an enjoyable experience. Regulations are necessary to ensure that your public resources are protected from damage and that the activities of one set of users do not interfere with other users. As the 4th of July holiday approaches, one of the least understood, and often violated rules, is the prohibition of fireworks on Corps properties such as Bowman-Haley Lake. Title 36, Chap 111, Part 327.13(b) states “Possession of explosives or explosive devices of any kind, including fireworks, or other pyrotechnics, is prohibited unless written permission has been received from the District Commander.” There many good reasons for this rule, from protecting public and private resources to ensuring all citizens can enjoy corps grounds equally.
Fireworks pose a threat mainly due to the risk of wildfire. Residents of southwest North Dakota are no strangers to drought conditions. Around the 4th of July it is common to have very dry conditions that are conducive to the spread of wildfire. Not only does this threat pose a danger to your public grounds, but Bowman-Haley Lake is surrounded by private land. The Corps seeks to be good neighbors to those citizens by reducing the risk of wildfire spreading from our managed properties.
Many citizens come to Bowman-Haley Lake for the tranquility they can only find by escaping more urban environments. Those peaceful surroundings are easily shattered by fireworks. One group of campers lighting fireworks may not even realize the severe disturbance they are causing to others.
Lastly, fireworks and litter seem to go hand in hand around the 4th of July. Folks who are setting off fireworks late into the night often times leave many signs behind. Burned out fireworks containers, plastic wrapping, and countless shards of paper are strewn about the landscape. This unsightly litter must be cleaned up by staff or volunteers.
So while the Corps encourages you to use your campground and marina at Bowman-Haley Lake this coming 4th of July, please be sure to heed the regulations. These regulations are in place to protect YOUR natural resources and increase the enjoyment for all users. Regulation pamphlets are available at all Corps marinas and campgrounds or you may request a pamphlet be sent to you by emailing or writing:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Pipestem Dam Project
Jamestown, ND 58402