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  1. #1
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    Ouachita River Float Camps - Arkansas

    Two questions about the float camps along the Ouachita River in Arkansas that maybe some folks here can help me out with some local knowledge.

    1. Are they open for camping or not? On the forest service web site I've found one map that says they are and one that says they are day use only. I camped at River Bluff, Dragover and Fulton Branch four years ago but all of them are listed as day use on one of these maps and as overnight camping on another. Four years ago I just stumbled upon them and they all had obvious tent sites with a table and fire ring; maybe that has changed.

    2. How much use do the float camps get? We were thinking of coming up over the July 4th weekend but really don't want to deal with a lot of drunken party animals out howling at the moon and blowing stuff up...

    Thanks in advance. I keep meaning to call the Womble Ranger Station but figured there might be some good insider knowledge on the forum as well.

    David

  2. #2
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    I'm surprised nobody has any insider knowledge on this.

    Just in case anybody else comes across this thread in a search, I did finally remember to call the Womble Ranger Station today while at work today and got some "answers" (and I use that word loosely).

    The float camps are "temporarily" day use only due to a flood "that happened sometime" which apparently highlighted a need for a flash flood study for safety purposes, but I was assured that I could camp anywhere else in the forest and be fine.

    As this made little sense to me, I asked when the study was to be complete. They didn't know, nor did they know if it had even been started. I asked if the grounds were still maintained and they said they were and that the camp sites were still in place along with the vault bathrooms. I asked if anyplace else outside the camp was fine if I could just pitch my tent at the gate and still use the facilities and they said yes, that was perfectly acceptable. Since this all was really beginning to make zero sense, I asked what would happen if I just camped inside. The guy told me that about the worst that would happen is a ranger "might" come through but all he'd be able to do is tell me to leave. To be honest the guy sounded like he really didn't know much for certain nor did he really seem to care.

    So it sounds like they are technically closed for camping but nobody gives a damn if you still use them.

  3. #3
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    Those areas are pretty remote. You can probably do anything you want. When Im in the area I stay at Ouachita Haven. Its family owned, small and quite.

  4. #4
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    Good info. We've use Fulton Branch as our base when we go there to ride the Womble and LOViT, but I noticed last year that they were now designated as day use only and wondered what was up with that.

  5. #5
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    I think the closures were in response to the deaths at Albert Pike Rec Area(2010 Arkansas floods - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). Ditto on using Ouachita Haven...

    Kev

  6. #6
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    Interestingly enough, we were camped at Fulton Branch during those floods. The camp site is a good height above the river. The river came up a good bit but we were never in any danger. My mom, however did call our info into the national guard. Thanks mom.

    Anyway, if anyone has any more recent intel on that spot, let me know. The wife and I are planning a trip for mid-Oct. We might try to camp at Fulton anyway, or we might just stay at Tomkins Bend and focus more on LOViT

  7. #7
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    We had a great trip to Mt Ida last weekend. While I was there I stopped by the ranger station and picked up a map of the area to help me explore some potential campsites. While we were there we had a good conversation with the person working at the office and got the exact same answers that Drizzt got back in July. You could camp there and nobody would likely mess with you. They only have one law enforcement officer and he has a lot of ground to cover.

    We did also scope out some cool camping spots out in the forest. There is a little road, FS 55A, just west from Fulton. It it a little double track that the Womble actually crosses. Well, less then a quarter mile up that road there is a great little spot to camp where you would be just above the trail. It is easy enough to get into that I'd bring my popup camper and park it there. There is another dead end FS road, I think it is 585, a little further east on the Womble that would also make a great camp spot. Actually a hunter was camping there when we drove up it.

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