In the wake of the 2008 floods and the crippling January ice storm, the Army Corps of Engineers has been hard at work repairing damage and getting as many park facilities as possible ready for the 2009 recreation season.
All boat launch ramps and four parks are fully open at Bull Shoals and Norfork lakes.
Quarry and Henderson parks on Norfork Lake are opening for both camping and day use, as are River Run and Beaver Creek parks on Bull Shoals Lake.
All marinas are open, though visitors may want to call ahead to see if there are storm-related restrictions.
As the weather gets warmer, many swim beaches will open, and other park facilities will open as workers repair enough damage to make them safe for visitors.
Although more facilities typically open April 1 each year, the situation is such that even with large-scale efforts to repair damage, clear debris, and remove dangerous limbs or trees, there is much work yet to be done.
Staff members at the Corps' Mountain Home Project Office are making every effort to open park facilities as soon as possible.
The goal is to ensure each park gets the repairs needed to be safe before visitors are invited.
In some cases, once a park opens, there will still be intermittent closures of individual camping loops and facilities when work crews re-enter to perform road work, erosion control or other repairs.
To prevent conflicts between these work crews and visitors with camping reservations, the Corps has suspended camping reservations for all but Quarry and Gamaliel campgrounds on Norfork Lake and Pontiac and Lakeview campgrounds on Bull Shoals Lake.
These four parks are expected to be open and remain operational after the beginning of the reservation season in mid-May.
Other campgrounds will be operated on a first-come, first-served basis as they open until all work has been completed before they are entered back into the reservation program.
All designated hiking and bike trails are closed until further notice because of extensive storm damage.
Visitors are urged to be patient and use caution while driving or walking in undeveloped areas because hanging limbs will pose hazards for several years.
For more information, call the Mountain Home Project Office between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at 870-425-2700 or visit the office at 324 West 7th Street in Mountain Home.