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Frequently Asked Questions

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The M.W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center remains closed due to the building being used by social distancing staff members.  An opening plan is being developed.  Until it reopens you can still enjoy all the other facilities in the M.W. Boudreaux Recreation Area, including the Northeast Missouri Vietnam Memorial, the Eagle Bluff Trail, scenic overlooks, playground, outdoor classroom, restroom, and picnic sites. Outdoor brochure racks in front of the Visitor Center provide visitors lake maps and park information. 

At this time, picnic shelters will open at their normal scheduled opening dates as shown in the chart below.  You may make reservations online at www.recreation.gov, through the recreation.gov mobile app or by phone at The Recreation One Stop reservation service at 877-444-6777 for shelters located at Ray Behrens, Indian Creek, John F. Spalding, John C. “Jack” Briscoe, Bluff View and Warren G. See South Spillway Recreation Areas.   For reservations for the Frank Russell Pond Area and the jumbo events shelter at the Warren G. See South Spillway Recreation Area you will need to contact the Mark Twain Lake Project Office at 573-735-4097.   Shelters not reserved can be used on a first-come first-serve basis.

Currently, honor vaults are removed from the ramps that charge fees.   Automated fee collection stations will be installed this summer.  In the meantime you can purchase annual passes by calling the Mark Twain Lake Project Office at 573-735-4097. 

Playgrounds are open this season.  Visitors should be aware that playgrounds receive safety inspections but are not cleaned beyond litter pick-up.  

Exceptions include (1) among individuals that cohabitate; (2) riding on elevators; (3) situations that make social distancing difficult or impractical such as when hiking on trails that may be crowded or rendering lifesaving first aid.

Exceptions include (1) among individuals that cohabitate; (2) when in outdoor spaces where social distancing of six feet or greater can be maintained; (3) people actively engaged in water-based activities wherein the mask will almost certainly get wet. Other general exceptions include (1) when an individual is alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls with a closed door; (2) for brief periods of time when eating and drinking while maintaining distancing of six feet or greater; (3) when the mask is required to be lowered briefly for identification or security purposes; and (4) when necessary to reasonably accommodate an individual with a medical disability.

The drone policy for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Mark Twain Lake states "Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) are prohibited within 500 feet of Clarence Cannon Dam, Re-regulation dam, project office, radio tower and both Spalding and Indian Creek Beaches.  All other project lands and waters are open to UAS operation."  For more information contact the Mark Twain Lake Project Office at 573-735-4097.

To avoid unsanitary conditions, pets are prohibited on the sand and water portions of swimming beaches.  Pets are allowed in other areas if they are penned, caged, on a leash under six feet in length. Owners must also pick up waste left by their pet.  Visitors are encouraged not to leave pets unattended, so they do not disturb other visitors.

Camping fees are charged by campsite, not by camping unit.  Eight people per site is the maximum number allowed.  The total number of camping units per site is limited to one recreational vehicle or trailer and three additional tents.  If no recreational vehicles or trailers are on the site, a maximum of four tents will be permitted. POC: Park Ranger Chris Coe, 573-735-4097

Yes, you may make reservations for picnic shelters, group campgrounds, and the outdoor classroom at the M.W. Boudreaux Recreation Area as well as the special event area in the Warren G. See South Spillway Recreation Area.  Contact the Mark Twain Lake Project Office at 573-735-4097 to discuss large public events.

No, portable deer stands and blinds are permitted, but must be removed each day after the hunt. No permanent stands or blinds may be constructed.

Yes, you can rent boats at either of two marinas on the lake.  Indian Creek Marina can be reached at 573-735-4075 and Blackjack Marina can be reached at 573-565-2233.

Neither face shields, nor bandanas will be permitted as a substitute for masks. Novelty/non-protective masks and masks with ventilation valves are also not permitted. Masks must comply with the CDC guidance including: (1) Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric; (2) Completely cover your nose and mouth; (3) Fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps; and (4) Have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.

Since Executive Order (EO) 13991, Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing applies to federal lands, and USACE recreation areas are composed of federal land and federal buildings, everyone age 2 and older is required to wear a mask while visiting USACE recreation areas even if there is no mask mandate in your state.

No.  All vehicles must be operated on public roadways and be licensed and insured.  ATVs are not permitted on the public lands and roads of Mark Twain Lake.   We do have multi-use trails for hiking, hunting and horseback riding.

The Warren G. See Disc Golf Course, located in the Warren G. See South Spillway, is an 18-hole disc golf course developed through a Cost Share Partnership with the Mark Twain Lake Chamber of Commerce and Quincy Disc Golf Club. Additionally, a Missouri Department of Natural Resources Grant was awarded through the Mark Twain Lake Solid Waste Management District for the purchase of materials.  The grant and partner funds were used to purchase disc golf baskets, tee box rubber matting, signs, and a bulletin board.  In-kind services were utilized to install all materials and to assist in final field preparations.  The fields utilized for the course were previously disturbed ground used to bury shot rock from construction of the Clarence Cannon Dam.  Use of the course is free.  Bring your own discs.

Yes, you can listen to AM530 when at the lake to receive any announcements or special information.  You can also access this information by calling 573-735-2619.

Yes, free primitive hike-in camping is allowed by permit at designated sites at H/F 22 (North Fork), H/F 53 (South Fork) and along the Joanna and Lick Creek Trails.  The only amenities at the sites are a fire ring and lantern post.  Campers must register and get a permit by calling the Mark Twain Lake Project Office at 573-735-4097 or email marktwaininfo@usace.army.mil .  Primitive camping is also available during holiday periods at the Indian Creek Campground Hike-In area by making reservations at www.recreation.gov or calling 877-444-6777.  Amenities include nearby restrooms and showers.  Indian Creek Hike-in sites are $8/night.

In 2021 the program was cancelled due to COVID-19 social distancing protocol and lack of volunteers to assist with installation.  Artificial fish habitat structures will be used this year.  POC: Forester Allen Mehrer, 573-735-4097.

Partners are important team members at Mark Twain Lake.  They are instrumental in providing special events, environmental stewardship projects, trail maintenance and facilities such as the Archery Park and much more.  Two 501 c 3 partners provide avenues for multiple groups and individuals to get involved.

The Mark Twain Lake Friends of Recreation and Environmental Stewardship (FOREST) Council contact is Forester Allen Mehrer at 573-735-4097.

The Mark Twain Lake Visitors and Educational Resource Center Committee contact is Park Ranger Mary Anne Heitmeyer at 573-735-4097.

Go to www.swpa.gov/generationschedules.aspx  or call 866-494-1993.  

Search for job openings at www.usajobs.gov .  Directions for applying are shown on the site.  Local announcements will be published in area papers.

Reservations can be made online at www.recreation.gov , through the recreation.gov mobile app or by phone at The Recreation One Stop reservation service at 877-444-6777.  

Individual campsite reservations accepted a maximum of 6 months and a minimum of one day before arrival. If spaces are available, you can make a same day reservation.

Volunteers are important team members at Mark Twain Lake that help maintain facilities, present programs, assist with special events, staff the Visitor Center and as campground gate attendants.  You can go to www.volunteer.gov to see what positions are available and to submit an application.   Volunteers may earn free camping.   You may also contact the Mark Twain Lake Project Office at 573-735-4097 for more specific questions.

Yes. While the vast majority of people who are vaccinated will be protected from Covid-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, vaccinated people may still be able to transmit the virus to others when they cough, speak, or sneeze, even though they do not display any symptoms. Wearing a mask and social distancing are effective risk-mitigation strategies.

For issues regarding a specific lake project please contact the project office directly at 573-735-4097.  If you have a question or concern that you feel more broadly applies to the St. Louis District, please contact the Public Affairs Office via phone at 314-331-8000.

Follow us on Facebook at Mark Twain Lake – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, email marktwaininfo@usace.army.mil or call 573-735-4097.

Emergency Telephone Numbers

         Ralls County Sheriff

          Emergency—911                  

          Non-Emergency—573-985-5611

Monroe County Sheriff

Emergency—911

Non-Emergency—660-327-5175

Missouri Highway Patrol

660-385-2132

Other contacts:

Public Affairs Office: 314-331-8000

Carlyle Lake: 618-594-2484

Kaskaskia River Project: 618-284-7160

Lake Shelbyville: 217-774-3951

Rend Lake: 618-724-2493

Rivers Project Office: 636-899-2600

Wappapello Lake: 573-222-8562

Yes, a new beach walk system is set into the ground, so it can withstand the fluctuating lake level throughout the summer season and ensure a safe walking platform to the water’s edge. This beach walk system allows for a more stable platform for users to walk on, and a much cooler surface on hot summer days.  

Mark Twain Lake received a grant to build a surfaced bike trail in Frank Russell Recreation Area.  Our Environmental Stewardship team has developed a plan that can create eight miles of pug-limestone surfaced trail that will constructed in phases over a three-year period.   The initial phase will establish a three-mile portion of the trail.  A group led by the Mark Twain Lake FOREST Council will assist with planning and construction.  POC:  Forester Allen Mehrer, 573-735-4097.

We received a grant to assist with construction and placement of 160 MTL Cubes and 400+ spider blocks at two locations at the lake.  The structures will provide long-term fisheries habitat.  The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) and local fishing enthusiasts are involved with the planning and implementation of this project.  Plans are underway to perform this work in April. POC: Forester Allen Mehrer, 573-735-4097.

Outdoors when physical distancing of six feet or greater can be maintained.

Actively engaging in watersports wherein the mask is almost certain to get wet. Masks can become heavy when wet and that makes breathing difficult.

Rescuing a distressed swimmer.

Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or some other vital first aid to a person in distress.

Evacuating due to a life-threatening emergency.

When an individual is alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls with a closed door.

Brief periods of time when eating and drinking while maintaining distancing of six feet or greater.

When the mask is required to be lowered briefly for identification or security purposes.

When necessary to reasonably accommodate an individual with a medical disability.

Social distancing of six feet or more should be maintained even when wearing a mask.

Located in the Warren G. See South Spillway Recreation Area, the range features 25, 50 and 100-yard sections.  Open daily until dusk except during special events or reservations.  Fees are $2 per shooter per day or $40 for an annual day use pass.

The range was developed through a three (3) way partnership between the COE, Missouri Department of Conservation, and the NRA Foundation in the late 90's.  The design was completed utilizing primarily NRA and Missouri Department of Conservation guidelines and consultation of a DOD range study and guide.  The Missouri Dept. of Conservation engineers did design work and majority of equipment work as part of their commitment to the project.  

The archery park located in the Frank Russell Recreation Area, just north of Cannon Dam, was opened in 2017 and features a 10-station event range with target distances between 10 and 80 yards, and concrete pathways permitting barrier-free access to all facilities.  The range can accommodate traditional bow and compound bow, crossbows, and low poundage/youth bows.  An elevated platform provides archers opportunity to shoot 3D targets at distances ranging from 10 yards to 35 yards.  There is also a .7-mile improved surfaced archery trail that also has exercise stations for those walking in the area. No fees are charged for using the facility.

Staff will remind people that everyone age 2 and older is required to wear a mask and that everyone is required to social distance. Everyone will be given the opportunity to comply and those persons refusing to comply will be asked to leave the location in which they are putting others at risk. Those who refuse to wear masks or social distance may be issued a citation and asked to leave the USACE recreation project. The goal, however, is to ensure that everyone who chooses to visit a USACE recreation project can do so as safely as possible. Staff will take into consideration the exceptions listed in this FAQ.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District is placing aggregate and riprap on an island in proximity to the South Fork Recreation Area Boat Ramp to mitigate extensive erosion that has taken place.   The project includes work areas including the existing access road, a new stone haul road and staging areas, as well as the area of protection on and around the eroding island.  

Many Corps sites have areas and facilities that are maintained by other federal or state agencies, including Mark Twain Lake. The Mark Twain State Park is operated by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (State Parks) and may have different guidelines for recreational facilities. For more information, please contact the Mark Twain State Park at 573-565-3440. 

Located in the M.W. Boudreaux Recreation Area Complex, the 40-foot diameter sundial with an 11-foot tall marker in the center casts a shadow on the monument’s concrete plaques representing the months of the year.  The names of 45 area men who died in the Vietnam War are on the plaques stating the month they died.  The Memorial honors men from the Missouri Counties of Monroe, Ralls, Shelby, Marion, Macon, Pike and Lewis.  The Memorial is open to the public.

Mark Twain Lake has two trail multi-purpose trails and a short accessible scenic trail.

Lick Creek trail access is located across from the Ray Behrens Recreation Area, at Hunter-Fisherman Lot 62 and at the Duane Wheelan Recreation Area.  It is eight miles in length, but you can enjoy a shorter two-mile loop at the north end.  You can also get a permit for primitive camping at designated locations along the trail.

The Joanna Trail Head can be located in the John F. Spalding Recreation Area, and at Hunter Fisherman Lots 11, 10 and 16.  A connecting trail from the Frank Russell Recreation Area to the Spalding Trail Head is convenient for those equestrians camping in Frank Russell. This trail offers several loops from 2.5 miles up to 19 miles.  You can also get a permit for primitive camping at designated locations along the trail.

The Eagle Trail is an ADA paved accessible walking area approximately ¼ mile in length as it meanders through an oak hickory forest past spectacular views of the lake in the M.W. Boudreaux Visitor Center Complex. Learn about nature as you enjoy the quiet walk through the woods.

Trail maps can be obtained by calling the Mark Twain Lake Project Office at 573-735-4097, by email at marktwaininfo@usace.army.mil or on our webpage at https://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Mark-Twain-Lake/Recreation/Trails/

Masks are required to be worn while inside any building or structure including visitor centers, lobbies, offices, comfort stations, bathhouses, etc. While outdoors, masks are required when social distancing of six feet or more is difficult or not possible. This may include when hiking on trails that may be popular or crowded. 

At this time, day use areas will open at their normal scheduled opening dates as shown in the chart below except for the M.W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center. The Visitor Center remains closed for social distancing of staff members.   Boat ramps are open year round although winter weather can effect accessibility.

Area

Open Date

Close Date

MW Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center

To Be Determined

To Be Determined

MW Boudreaux Picnic Area

Open All Year

Open All Year

John C. “Jack” Briscoe Group Use

April 30

September 27

Ray Behrens: Picnic Area

May 14

September 13

Ray Behrens: Deer Run (Reservations)

Sites 1A-47B

April 2

November 22

Ray Behrens: Little Blue Stem (Reservations)

Sites 48-116

 April 9

 October 11

Ray Behrens: Cedar Ridge (Reservations)

Sites 117-157

May 7

September 27

Indian Creek : Group Camp (Reservations)

April 30

September 27

Indian Creek: Beach

May 7

September 6

Indian Creek: Day Use/Amphitheater/Picnic Area

May 14

September 13

Indian Creek: Sentry Ridge (Reservations)

Sites 1–65

April 2

 

November 22

 

Indian Creek: Night Hawk (Reservations)

Sites 66-95

April 30

September 27

Indian Creek: Fox (Reservations)

Sites 96-121

April 9

October 4

Indian Creek: Eagle Point (Reservations)

Sites 122-177

May 7

September 6

 

Indian Creek: Hike-In (Reservations)

May 26

June 30

September 1

June 1

July 6               

September 7

Frank Russell: Joanna (Reservations) Sites 1–20B

Clear View (Reservations) Sites 21 - 29

May 14

 

September 27

 

 

 

Frank Russell: Flint Ridge (Reservations)

Sites 30- 60

April 23

 

July 7 (closes for site upgrades)

Frank Russell: Equestrian

Sites 61 – 67 (Reservations)

April 2

November 1

Frank Russell: Day Use Area

April 2

November 1

Frank Russell: Archery Range

Open All Year

Open All Year

John Spalding: Picnic Area

April 16

September 6

John Spalding: Beach

May 7

September 6

Robert E. Allen Recreation Area

Open All Year

Open All Year

South Fork Recreation Area

Open All Year

Open All Year

Stoutsville Recreation Area

Open All Year

Open All Year

Bluff View Recreation Area

Open All Year

Open All Year

Warren G. See Spillway Recreation Area

Open All Year

Open All Year

David C. Berti Shooting Range

Open All Year

Open All Year

Ray Behrens Ramp

Open All Year

Open All Year

Indian Creek West Ramp

Open All Year

Open All Year

John Spalding Ramp

Open All Year

Open All Year

Hunter-Fisherman Areas

Open All Year

Open All Year

The most recent information available will be posted in our Facebook page at Mark Twain Lake – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  

There is accessible fishing at the Frank Russell Recreation Area Pond.  Paved walkways and fishing access are provided around part of the pond.  

You may also fish along the re-regulation pool below Cannon Dam and Bluff View Recreation Area and from several Hunter-Fisherman Access Areas.  You will also find several fishing ponds on public lands.  Get maps at https://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Mark-Twain-Lake/

Mark Twain Lake Vacation Guides are printed by the Mark Twain Lake Chamber of Commerce and are posted on-line at www.exploremarktwainlake.com .

You may order American the Beautiful Passes on-line at         https://store.usgs.gov/recreational-passesYou can also see a list of provider locations that might provide in person sales. Passes are not available at the Mark Twain Lake Project due to the M.W. Boudreaux Memorial Visitor Center being closed due to COVID-19 social distancing protocol.

You may obtain an annual pass by calling the Mark Twain Lake Project Office at 573-735-4097 to order.   No in person transactions are available currently. No cash or check transactions are accepted.  Payment must be by debit or credit only.   POC:  Park Rangers Mary Anne Heitmeyer/Brian Falls, 573-735-4097.

You can get maps at our webpage at   https://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Mark-Twain-Lake/Recreation/Camping/ or by emailing marktwaininfo@usace.army.mil to get maps emailed to you.

Additional health communication resources, including those concerning outdoor recreation, are available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/parks-rec/index.html

Approximately 30,000 acres of public land is available for hunting.  Numerous Hunter-Fisherman access points are located around the lake.  You can pick up a lake brochure at most area businesses or from brochure racks at the M.W. Boudreaux Visitor Center.  You can also get one at our website at https://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Mark-Twain-Lake/ .  Email us at marktwaininfo@usace.army.mil to request a copy through the mail.  POC:  Forester Allen Mehrer, 573-735-4097.

The Mark Twain Lake Project offers 54,000 acres of land and water for birders to enjoy.  A variety of habitats such as water, agriculture fields, open fields, brush, woodlands and urban areas provide for a multitude of species.  The locally based Mississippi Hills Master Naturalists joined the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count this year. Participants covered 298 miles, counting 3,300 birds—49 species—ranging from an abundance of geese (960) ring billed gulls (467), blue jays (253), European starlings (253), and American crows (144)—to the much rarer sighted golden-crowned kinglet (6), northern harrier (1), and song sparrow (1).  Get a lake map at https://www.mvs.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Mark-Twain-Lake/

Every person age 2 and older is required to wear a mask on properties and lands controlled by the federal government — including U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation projects — when physical distancing of six feet or greater cannot be maintained.

On January 20, 2021 President Joe Biden signed Executive Order (EO) 13991, Protecting the Federal Workforce and Requiring Mask-Wearing. The EO “requires compliance with CDC guidelines with respect to wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, and other public health measures by on-duty or on-site Federal employees; on-site Federal contractors; and all persons in Federal buildings or on Federal lands. This means that any person entering a Federal building or entering federal lands must comply with the CDC guidance. The CDC guidance requires masks to be worn while inside any Federal building and outside when social distancing is difficult or not possible. By complying with the CDC guidance, we are all doing our part to halt the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best available data and science-based public health measures indicate wearing face masks may protect you from droplets when a person with COVID-19 coughs, speaks, or sneezes and you are less than six-feet away from them. Wearing a mask will also help protect others if you are infected with the virus, whether or not you have symptoms.

The Shoreline Management Policy, in accordance with Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations 327.30 states that it is USACE policy to protect and manage shorelines of USACE water resource development projects "in a manner which will promote the safe and healthful use of the shorelines by the public while maintaining environmental safeguards to ensure a quality resource for use by the public." The policy recognizes the need to balance competing interests present at multi-purpose properties. The Shoreline Management Policy regulations prohibit private shoreline uses on water resource projects where construction was initiated after December 13, 1974, or where no private shoreline uses existed as of that date. USACE projects with private development prior to December 13, 1974, are managed in accordance with a shoreline management plan. This is often called a “greenbelt”.   

Development is only possible at Mark Twain Lake through its leasing or outgrant program. Before federal property could be made available for development, the following documentation would need to be prepared: 1) market study; 2) feasibility study; 3) environmental/cultural resources evaluations. Currently, USACE does not have the resources to prepare this documentation. If interested, individual developers or groups would be required to prepare the documentation for USACE review to support additional development at the Mark Twain Lake Project.

The reopening of recreation areas will be dependent on state and local conditions and each recreation project’s ability to put in place safety considerations to protect USACE personnel, contractors, volunteers, and the visiting public. 

Converting campsites to 100% reservable is safer for Lake Staff to maintain social distancing guidelines by limiting or eliminating interactions and exchanges that have to occur inside of six feet, allowing visitors to conduct most of the campsite reservation and check in process on their personal devices.  Payment options are debit and credit card only.  No cash or checks are accepted.  It also improves accounting processes.  POC: Park Ranger Chris Coe, 573-735-4097 

Prescribed burns help fields by reducing the woody cover that naturally occurs.  It also removes the dead grass that is layered on the ground suppressing growth of plants that provide food sources for wildlife.  Our fall burns are trying to accomplish the removal of trees, while our spring burns remove the dead grass and stimulate warm season grass growth and native forbs that provide food sources supporting wildlife habitat and pollinator species.

Currently, in person programs are on hold.  Our team is preparing short video clips to provide our customers with nature, facilities, history, and other project related topics that will appear on our Facebook page and webpage.