Birdeye Park to close Dec. 31

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 9, 2005

When 2006 rolls around there will be one less park in the Demopolis area. Birdeye Park, which is located off U.S. Highway 43 near Forkland, is one of three parks the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District plans to close on Dec. 31.

Chief Legislative and Public Affairs U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Mobile District Patrick Robbins said decreasing use of the parks coupled with the expense of their maintenance led to the closings.

“While it is always difficult to cut back on services, the Corps must seek the most efficient use of its limited funds,” Robbins said. “The district assessment of this area also evaluated alternatives such as changing the opening and closing dates for recreational areas, creating partnerships with local businesses and governments as well as changing the level of service.”

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The closing of Birdeye Park should not have an impact on the Demopolis Lake area of the Tombigbee River, Robbins said, because of the alternative sites nearby.

Instead of Birdeye Park, visitors may now use Forkland Park, Runaway Branch No.2 or Backbone Park.

Forkland Park, which is a highly developed recreation area, has year round park attendants. Runaway Branch No. 2 Park has the closest boat launch and provides more facilities. Backbone Park, located across the river five miles from Birdeye, offers boaters a totally different river experience to enjoy.

The review team, Robbins said, focused on ways to improve recreational opportunities to the public. As part of their review, Robbins said, they considered cost-benefit factors, the impact on customers and whether or not there were equal or better facilities nearby.

Other parks included in the closings are Old Locke 7 East and McCarty’s Ferry.

The decision to close McCarty Ferry, which is located down the river from Demopolis on Coffeeville Lake, was based on the continuous silt build-up. The build up prevents visitors from using the boat ramp, and the review found is was no longer cost effective to dredge the area.

McCarty Ferry Landing visitors have two nearby options. Tuscahoma Landing, which is managed by the city of Butler, or Lenoir Landing, which is located next to the Choctaw National Wildlife refuge both offer more facilities than McCarty Ferry.

For more information, please contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Demopolis Site office at (334) 289-3540, or visit their website at