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Free camping is being offered in unreserved campsites both Friday and Saturday nights, and free day use is being offered at unreserved sites Saturday and Sunday, June 9-10, 2012.
The free weekend is being offered in conjunction with National Get Outdoors Day and Missouri’s Free Fishing Days, which are celebrated on the Saturday and Sunday following the first Monday in June.
The free use is available in these campgrounds and associated recreation areas:
Cobb Ridge, Chadwick Motorcycle and ATV area, Christian County; Greer Crossing on Eleven Point River, Oregon County; Lane Spring, Phelps County; Loggers Lake, Shannon County; Markham Springs, Wayne County; North Fork along the North Fork of the White River in Ozark County, and Watercress on the Current River in Carter County.
National Get Outdoors Day is an annual event to encourage healthy, active outdoor fun and participation in outdoor activities.
Missouri’s Free Fishing Days were established as a way to encourage people to try fishing so they can find out, or rediscover, the enjoyment associated with fishing.
“Offering free camping and day use is a way to show our appreciation and encourage people to enjoy the outdoors and to connect to the land, which improves the health and quality of both personal and community life,” said Mark Twain National Forest Supervisor David Whittekiend. “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. Fishing allows you to relax, brings about peace of mind and helps you to reconnect with the natural world. When parents bring their children, they start building a generation of conservationists who will protect our resources in future decades, something vital to the future of national forests.”
Several day use sites and less developed campgrounds, as well as dispersed recreation areas, are free year-round. These free sites include Berryman, Washington County; Bar-K, Christian County; Dry Fork, Callaway County, and Paddy Creek, Texas County and Sutton Bluff, Reynolds County, all of which have facilities for equestrian camping.
Motorized trail permits are still required for use of Chadwick and Sutton Bluff trail systems; normal fees still apply.
Normal fees also apply to sites operated by concessionaires, including Council Bluff, Iron County; Deer Leap and Float Camp, Ripley County; Red Bluff, Crawford County; Silver Mines and Marble Creek, Madison County and Big Bay, Stone County.
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’s mission is to continue to restore Missouri’s great outdoors and maintain a healthy, working forest.