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Officials propose day use only at Albert Pike

The U.S. Forest Service announced plans Monday to tear down structures at a southwest Arkansas campground where 20 people were killed during a 2010 flood.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - The U.S. Forest Service announced plans Monday to tear down structures at a southwest Arkansas campground where 20 people were killed during a 2010 flood.

Under the proposed plan for the Albert Pike Campground in Montgomery County, the area would be open only for daytime use. The agency is seeking public comment on the proposal either by mail or via the Internet.

The campground is in a valley of the Little Missouri River, which was the site of a violent nighttime flash flood that flipped over RVs, uprooted tents and even lifted sections of concrete as the waters claimed 20 people, including seven children.

Installing a warning system to alert nighttime campers isn't feasible in the rugged area of the Ouachita Mountains, the Forest Service found.

A Forest Service news release claims says the agency "now has better data on the flood susceptibility of the traditional campground loops" at Albert Pike. But a Forest Service report on the tragedy notes that the campground had been "subject to frequent flooding" prior to the 2010 disaster.

The new plan would ban camping below the 100-year flood elevation, limiting future use of the Albert Pike Campground to day use. The plan calls for closure of a bathhouse until long-term needs for it are determined.

After the flood, the area still had water and electric hookups and other fixtures. A contractor earlier tore out upturned asphalt and other areas of damage.

The Forest Service said the plan calls for installing new signs indicating the facility is not for nighttime use.

Hiking and swimming have long been popular at the area around the campground, which reopened for day use in May.

The Forest Service didn't specify a cutoff date for comments on its Albert Pike proposal.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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