Mark Twain National Forest has announced it is permanently closing the Big Bay Campground on Table Rock Lake, near Shell Knob, Missouri.
The near-by Big Bay boat launch and picnic area remains open.
The press release states that “The campground closing is part of Mark Twain National Forest’s long term recreation site management plan.”
Ava-Cassville-Willow Springs Ranger Jenny Farenbaugh is quoted as saying:
“The facilities are not accessible; are not compatible with modern camping equipment, and have been deteriorating for a number of years,”
To say that we are deeply disappointed to hear this news is an understatement.
The state and federal agencies seem to be intent on corralling us into areas with manicured lawns, densely populated RV parking lots and noisy ‘tent cities’.
At the same time they are sanitizing the ‘outdoor experience’ and removing people further from nature. It’s all done with the hidden and not so hidden agenda of reducing operating costs.
Unless we can make a case and generate the demand for quiet, natural primitive camping facilities I fear we are going to be seeing a lot more excellent campgrounds without all of the modern trimmings closing down.
Here’s a small sample of what we’ll be missing out on with the closure of Big Bay Campground and its fantastic views and access to Table Rock Lake:
Big Bay Campground, Mark twain National Forest
The view towards our campsite from halfway down the hill to the lakeside.
Pre-dawn on Table Rock Lake at the Big Bay Recreation Area
Campsite No. 27, Big Bay Campground
We were up early and ventured down to the lakeside to see the sunrise. Fortunately the water was still very warm as I had to wade in up to my waist to get these pictures of two fishermen who were quietly trolling the lake.
We were up early and ventured down to the lakeside to see the sunrise.
Table Rock Lake from Big Bay Campground
Super views across Table Rock Lake from the beach of campsite #35.
In the early morning the water was still and calm providing some excellent reflections.
A Lazy Photo – taken from where I was sitting. We were there in August during a heat wave and it was too hot to be near the shore. We alternated between sitting in the shade and floating in the water.
Ginger sat in the shade and read, while I threw lures at non-existent fish, stood up to my chest in the warm water of the lake throwing lures at non-existent fish, and just floated around on the lake. It was a very nice way to spend time on a day when temperatures were in the upper nineties.
Big Bay campground runs all around the ridge to the right.
Missouri is experiencing a fifty year record drought. When we finally decide to brave the heat and go camping it starts to rain.
Read the full Press Release from the Mark Twain National Forest.