ROLLA, Mo.– Mark Twain National Forest will offer free camping in unreserved campsites both Saturday and Sunday nights, and free day use at unreserved sites Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, January 14-16, 2012.
The three days of free day use and two free nights of camping at year-round recreation areas the second weekend in January 2012 are being offered in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend.
Motorized trail permits are still required for use of the Chadwick and Sutton Bluff trail systems, and normal fees still apply.
Free camping and day use is being offered at Cobb Ridge in the Chadwick Motorcycle and ATV Area in Christian County and Greer Crossing on the Eleven Point River in Oregon County.
Campgrounds are closed but day use fees are being waived at Markham Springs in Wayne County; North Fork along the North Fork of the White River in Ozark County, and Watercress on the Current River in Carter County.
In addition, the following campgrounds or camping areas are among those open year-round without fees:
Berryman and Hazel Creek in Washington County; Bar-K in Christian County; Dry Fork in Callaway County, and Big Piney Trail Camp in Texas County, all of which have facilities for equestrian camping; Paddy Creek in Texas County, Pine Ridge in Callaway County and McCormack Lake in Oregon County, where horses are not allowed.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day has become recognized as a national day of service. Mark Twain National Forest is celebrating the many volunteers who have helped and encouraging individuals to start 2012 right by getting out and enjoying their national forests.
“We have hundreds of volunteers who help maintain the trails and other recreation facilities on Mark Twain National Forest,” said Mark Twain National Forest Acting Forest Supervisor Teresa Chase.
“Offering free camping and day use on the weekend of this National Day of Service is a way to show our appreciation of those individuals. Also, at a time of year when many individuals have resolved to lead a healthier lifestyle, we want to encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and to connect to the land, which improves the health and quality of both personal and community life. We hope to inspire individuals and community groups to take part in activities that promote healthy living and mental well being, instill excitement for the outdoors, or to just plain get out and enjoy being on a trail or in the forest.