The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the Nation's largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, hosting nearly 385 million visitors a year at 4,300 recreation areas across the nation. Our lakes and parks include over 100,000 campsites. The Corps provides operation and maintenance (O&M) for this vast recreation network at 456 lakes in 43 states. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has a reputation of building and maintaining high quality recreation facilities. The expectation to maintain this quality comes from Corps managers and Park Rangers, stakeholders and most importantly our customers.
The goal of RAMP is to modernize key Corps managed recreation areas. Renovating and updating Corps areas is necessary to meet the needs of present users, under served populations, and future generations. Recreation areas at forty percent of the Corps lakes and reservoirs were built before 1960 and are more than 40 years old. Problems with these aging facilities and infrastructure include:
- Safety - In some cases, the health and safety of the users is at risk.
- Equipment mismatch - Visitors who use equipment or engage in recreation activities not anticipated in original recreation designs find it challenging to achieve a quality experience.
- Limited accessibility - Many of the facilities are not accessible to persons with disabilities.
- Environmental impacts - Many of these recreation areas are being loved to death.
- Little support for new activities - Changes in recreation use patterns has resulted in many of our facilities becoming functionally obsolete.
Efforts to address these issues include the November 2004 publication of the Recreation Facility Standards and Customer Service Standards, which were designed to meet customer expectations and eliminate the problems listed above. These standards will be applied to all new construction and rehabilitation of Corps facilities and areas.
Another related initiative is the Recreation Program Performance Improvement Initiative (RPPII), designed as a multi-year long-range plan to address the Recreation Business Program challenges in providing recreation opportunities at a consistent, affordable and acceptable level as defined by performance metrics. The RPPII will produce comprehensive, consistent process and procedure to evaluate the current performance status of the recreation program at the project or recreation area level; identify opportunities for improvement; select an appropriate, effective strategy to improve performance; and to evaluate the results upon implementation.
Funding is a critical element of RAMP. In FY05, the six (6) Partnership Demonstration Lakes were selected to receive modernization funds. The Partnership Demonstration Lakes are:
- Lake Texoma, Texas - SWD
- Beaver Lake, Arkansas - SWD
- Rathbun Lake, Iowa - NWD
- Lake Shelbyville, Illinois - MVD
- Wolf Creek Dam, Lake Cumberland, Kentucky - LRD
- W. Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir, North Carolina - SAD
Beginning in FY06, projects will compete under the Recreation Program Program Improvement Initiative (RPPII) for modernization funds.