Rules for Recreation on Army Corps of Engineers Land

Learn about camping and boondocking on Army Corps of Engineers projects

Army Corps of Engineers Rules for Camping

17 Comments


Synopsis: These are the full set of rules adopted by the Army Corps of Engineers for camping and recreation on lands they manage.

These rules are codified under…

  • Code of Federal Regulations: Title 43 Public Lands: Interior
    • Chapter III Corps of Engineers, Department of the Army
      • Part 327 Rules and Regulations Governing Public Use of Water Resource Development Projects Administered by the Chief of Engineers
PART 327—RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING PUBLIC USE OF WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS ADMINISTERED BY THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS

Authority:16 U.S.C. 460d; 16 U.S.C. 4601–6a; Sec. 210, Pub. L. 90–483, 82 Stat. 746.; 33 U.S.C. 1, 28 Stat. 362.

Source:50 FR 35556, Sept. 3, 1985, unless otherwise noted.


§ 327.0 Applicability.

The regulations covered in this part 327 shall be applicable to water resources development projects, completed or under construction, administered by the Chief of Engineers, and to those portions of jointly administered water resources development projects which are under the administrative jurisdiction of the Chief of Engineers. All other Federal, state and local laws and regulations remain in full force and effect where applicable to those water resources development projects. 

[65 FR 6898, Feb. 11, 2000]


§ 327.1 Policy.

(a) It is the policy of the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, to manage the natural, cultural and developed resources of each project in the public interest, providing the public with safe and healthful recreational opportunities while protecting and enhancing these resources. 

(b) Unless otherwise indicated in this part, the term “District Commander” shall include the authorized representatives of the District Commander. 

(c) The term “project” or “water resources development project” refers to the water areas of any water resources development project administered by the Chief of Engineers, without regard to ownership of underlying land, to all lands owned in fee by the Federal Government and to all facilities therein or thereon of any such water resources development project. 

(d) All water resources development projects open for public use shall be available to the public without regard to sex, race, color, creed, age, nationality or place of origin. No lessee, licensee, or concessionaire providing a service to the public shall discriminate against any person because of sex, race, creed, color, age, nationality or place of origin in the conduct of the operations under the lease, license or concession contract. 

(e) In addition to the regulations in this part 327, all applicable Federal, state and local laws and regulations remain in full force and effect on project lands or waters which are outgranted by the District Commander by lease, license or other written agreement. 

(f) The regulations in this part 327 shall be deemed to apply to those lands and waters which are subject to treaties and Federal laws and regulations concerning the rights of Indian Nations and which lands and waters are incorporated, in whole or in part, within water resources development projects administered by the Chief of Engineers, to the extent that the regulations in this part 327 are not inconsistent with such treaties and Federal laws and regulations. 

(g) Any violation of any section of this part 327 shall constitute a separate violation for each calendar day in which it occurs. 

(h) For the purposes of this part 327, the operator of any vehicle, vessel or aircraft as described in this part, shall be presumed to be responsible for its use on project property. In the event where an operator cannot be determined, the owner of the vehicle, vessel, or aircraft, whether attended or unattended, will be presumed responsible. Unless proven otherwise, such presumption will be sufficient to issue a citation for the violation of regulations applicable to the use of such vehicle, vessel or aircraft as provided for in § 327.25. 

(i) For the purposes of this part 327, the registered user of a campsite, picnic area, or other facility shall be presumed to be responsible for its use. Unless proven otherwise, such presumption will be sufficient to issue a citation for the violation of regulations applicable to the use of such facilities as provided for in § 327.25. 

[65 FR 6898, Feb. 11, 2000]


§ 327.2 Vehicles.

(a) This section pertains to all vehicles, including, but not limited to, automobiles, trucks, motorcycles, mini-bikes, snowmobiles, dune buggies, all-terrain vehicles, and trailers, campers, bicycles, or any other such equipment. 

(b) Vehicles shall not be parked in violation of posted restrictions and regulations, or in such a manner as to obstruct or impede normal or emergency traffic movement or the parking of other vehicles, create a safety hazard, or endanger any person, property or environmental feature. Vehicles so parked are subject to removal and impoundment at the owner's expense. 

(c) The operation and/or parking of a vehicle off authorized roadways is prohibited except at locations and times designated by the District Commander. Taking any vehicle through, around or beyond a restrictive sign, recognizable barricade, fence, or traffic control barrier is prohibited. 

(d) Vehicles shall be operated in accordance with posted restrictions and regulations. 

(e) No person shall operate any vehicle in a careless, negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger any person, property or environmental feature. 

(f) At designated recreation areas, vehicles shall be used only to enter or leave the area or individual sites or facilities unless otherwise posted. 

(g) Except as authorized by the District Commander, no person shall operate any motorized vehicle without a proper and effective exhaust muffler as defined by state and local laws, or with an exhaust muffler cutout open, or in any other manner which renders the exhaust muffler ineffective in muffling the sound of engine exhaust. 

(h) Vehicles shall be operated in accordance with applicable Federal, state and local laws, which shall be regulated by authorized enforcement officials as prescribed in § 327.26. 

[65 FR 6899, Feb. 11, 2000]


§ 327.3 Vessels.

(a) This section pertains to all vessels or watercraft, including, but not limited to, powerboats, cruisers, houseboats, sailboats, rowboats, canoes, kayaks, personal watercraft, and any other such equipment capable of navigation on water or ice, whether in motion or at rest. 

(b) The placement and/or operation of any vessel or watercraft for a fee or profit upon project waters or lands is prohibited except as authorized by permit, lease, license, or concession contract with the Department of the Army. This paragraph shall not apply to the operation of commercial tows or passenger carrying vessels not based at a Corps project which utilize project waters as a link in continuous transit over navigable waters of the United States. 

(c) Vessels or other watercraft may be operated on the project waters, except in prohibited or restricted areas, in accordance with posted regulations and restrictions, including buoys. All vessels or watercraft so required by applicable Federal, state and local laws shall display an appropriate registration on board whenever the vessel is on project waters. 

(d) No person shall operate any vessel or other watercraft in a careless, negligent, or reckless manner so as to endanger any person, property, or environmental feature. 

(e) All vessels, when on project waters, shall have safety equipment, including personal flotation devices, on board in compliance with U.S. Coast Guard boating safety requirements and in compliance with boating safety laws issued and enforced by the state in which the vessel is located. Owners or operators of vessels not in compliance with this section may be requested to remove the vessel immediately from project waters until such time as items of non-compliance are corrected. 

(f) Unless otherwise permitted by Federal, state or local law, vessels or other watercraft, while moored in commercial facilities, community or corporate docks, or at any fixed or permanent mooring point, may only be used for overnight occupancy when such use is incidental to recreational boating. Vessels or other watercraft are not to be used as a place of habitation or residence. 

(g) Water skis, parasails, ski-kites and similar devices are permitted in nonrestricted areas except that they may not be used in a careless, negligent, or reckless manner so as to endanger any person, property or environmental feature. 

(h) Vessels shall not be attached or anchored to structures such as locks, dams, buoys or other structures unless authorized by the District Commander. All vessels when not in actual use shall be removed from project lands and waters unless securely moored or stored at designated areas approved by the District Commander. The placing of floating or stationary mooring facilities on, adjacent to, or interfering with a buoy, channel marker or other navigational aid is prohibited. 

(i) The use at a project of any vessel not constructed or maintained in compliance with the standards and requirements established by the Federal Safe Boating Act of 1971 (Pub. L. 92–75, 85 Stat. 213), or promulgated pursuant to such act, is prohibited. 

(j) Except as authorized by the District Commander, no person shall operate any vessel or watercraft without a proper and effective exhaust muffler as defined by state and local laws, or with an exhaust muffler cutout open, or in any other manner which renders the exhaust muffler ineffective in muffling the sound of engine exhaust. 

(k) All vessels or other watercraft shall be operated in accordance with applicable Federal, state and local laws, which shall be regulated by authorized enforcement officials as prescribed in § 327.26. 

[65 FR 6899, Feb. 11, 2000]


§ 327.4 Aircraft.

(a) This section pertains to all aircraft including, but not limited to, airplanes, seaplanes, helicopters, ultra-light aircraft, motorized hang gliders, hot air balloons, any non-powered flight devices or any other such equipment. 

(b) The operation of aircraft on project lands at locations other than those designated by the District Commander is prohibited. This provision shall not be applicable to aircraft engaged on official business of Federal, state or local governments or law enforcement agencies, aircraft used in emergency rescue in accordance with the directions of the District Commander or aircraft forced to land due to circumstances beyond the control of the operator. 

(c) No person shall operate any aircraft while on or above project waters or project lands in a careless, negligent or reckless manner so as to endanger any person, property or environmental feature. 

(d) Nothing in this section bestows authority to deviate from rules and regulations or prescribed standards of the appropriate State Aeronautical Agency, or the Federal Aviation Administration, including, but not limited to, regulations and standards concerning pilot certifications or ratings, and airspace requirements. 

(e) Except in extreme emergencies threatening human life or serious property loss, the air delivery or retrieval of any person, material or equipment by parachute, balloon, helicopter or other means onto or from project lands or waters without written permission of the District Commander is prohibited. 

(f) In addition to the provisions in paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section, seaplanes are subject to the following restrictions: 

(1) Such use is limited to aircraft utilized for water landings and takeoff, in this part called seaplanes, at the risk of owner, operator and passenger(s). (2) Seaplane operations contrary to the prohibitions or restrictions established by the District Commander (pursuant to part 328 of this title) are prohibited. The responsibility to ascertain whether seaplane operations are prohibited or restricted is incumbent upon the person(s) contemplating the use of, or using, such waters. (3) All operations of seaplanes while upon project waters shall be in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard navigation rules for powerboats or vessels and § 327.3. (4) Seaplanes on project waters and lands in excess of 24 hours shall be securely moored at mooring facilities and at locations permitted by the District Commander. Seaplanes may be temporarily moored on project waters and lands, except in areas prohibited by the District Commander, for periods less than 24 hours providing:
(i) The mooring is safe, secure, and accomplished so as not to damage the rights of the Government or members of the public, and (ii) The operator remains in the vicinity of the seaplane and reasonably available to relocate the seaplane if necessary.
(5) Commercial operation of seaplanes from project waters is prohibited without written approval of the District Commander following consultation with and necessary clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other appropriate public authorities and affected interests. (6) Seaplanes may not be operated at Corps projects between sunset and sunrise unless approved by the District Commander.
[65 FR 6899, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.5 Swimming. (a) Swimming, wading, snorkeling or scuba diving at one's own risk is permitted, except at launching sites, designated mooring points and public docks, or other areas so designated by the District Commander. (b) An international diver down, or inland diving flag must be displayed during underwater activities. (c) Diving, jumping or swinging from trees, bridges or other structures which cross or are adjacent to project waters is prohibited. [65 FR 6900, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.6 Picnicking. Picnicking and related day-use activities are permitted, except in those areas where prohibited by the District Commander. [65 FR 6900, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.7 Camping. (a) Camping is permitted only at sites and/or areas designated by the District Commander. (b) Camping at one or more campsites at any one water resource project for a period longer than 14 days during any 30-consecutive-day period is prohibited without the written permission of the District Commander. (c) The unauthorized placement of camping equipment or other items on a campsite and/or personal appearance at a campsite without daily occupancy for the purpose of reserving that campsite for future occupancy is prohibited. (d) The digging or leveling of any ground or the construction of any structure without written permission of the District Commander is prohibited. (e) Occupying or placement of any camping equipment at a campsite which is posted or otherwise marked or indicated as “reserved” without an authorized reservation for that site is prohibited. [65 FR 6900, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.8 Hunting, fishing, and trapping. (a) Hunting is permitted except in areas and during periods where prohibited by the District Commander. (b) Trapping is permitted except in areas and during periods where prohibited by the District Commander. (c) Fishing is permitted except in swimming areas, on boat ramps or other areas designated by the District Commander. (d) Additional restrictions pertaining to these activities may be established by the District Commander. (e) All applicable Federal, State and local laws regulating these activities apply on project lands and waters, and shall be regulated by authorized enforcement officials as prescribed in § 327.26. [65 FR 6900, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.9 Sanitation. (a) Garbage, trash, rubbish, litter, gray water, or any other waste material or waste liquid generated on the project and incidental to authorized recreational activities shall be either removed from the project or deposited in receptacles provided for that purpose. The improper disposal of such wastes, human and animal waste included, on the project is prohibited. (b) It is a violation to bring onto a project any household or commercial garbage, trash, rubbish, debris, dead animals or litter of any kind for disposal or dumping without the written permission of the District Commander. For the purposes of this section, the owner of any garbage, trash, rubbish, debris, dead animals or litter of any kind shall be presumed to be responsible for proper disposal. Such presumption will be sufficient to issue a citation for violation. (c) The spilling, pumping, discharge or disposal of contaminants, pollutants or other wastes, including, but not limited to, human or animal waste, petroleum, industrial and commercial products and by-products, on project lands or into project waters is prohibited. (d) Campers, picnickers, and all other persons using a water resources development project shall keep their sites free of trash and litter during the period of occupancy and shall remove all personal equipment and clean their sites upon departure. (e) The discharge or placing of sewage, galley waste, garbage, refuse, or pollutants into the project waters from any vessel or watercraft is prohibited. [65 FR 6900, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.10 Fires. (a) Gasoline and other fuels, except that which is contained in storage tanks of vehicles, vessels, camping equipment, or hand portable containers designed for such purpose, shall not be carried onto or stored on the project without written permission of the District Commander. (b) Fires shall be confined to those areas designated by the District Commander, and shall be contained in fireplaces, grills, or other facilities designated for this purpose. Fires shall not be left unattended and must be completely extinguished prior to departure. The burning of materials that produce toxic fumes, including, but not limited to, tires, plastic and other floatation materials or treated wood products is prohibited. The District Commander may prohibit open burning of any type for environmental considerations. (c) Improper disposal of lighted smoking materials, matches or other burning material is prohibited. [65 FR 6900, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.11 Control of animals. (a) No person shall bring or allow dogs, cats, or other pets into developed recreation areas or adjacent waters unless penned, caged, on a leash under six feet in length, or otherwise physically restrained. No person shall allow animals to impede or restrict otherwise full and free use of project lands and waters by the public. No person shall allow animals to bark or emit other noise which unreasonably disturbs other people. Animals and pets, except properly trained animals assisting those with disabilities (such as seeing-eye dogs), are prohibited in sanitary facilities, playgrounds, swimming beaches and any other areas so designated by the District Commander. Abandonment of any animal on project lands or waters is prohibited. Unclaimed or unattended animals are subject to immediate impoundment and removal in accordance with state and local laws. (b) Persons bringing or allowing pets in designated public use areas shall be responsible for proper removal and disposal of any waste produced by these animals. (c) No person shall bring or allow horses, cattle, or other livestock in camping, picnicking, swimming or other recreation areas or on trails except in areas designated by the District Commander. (d) Ranging, grazing, watering or allowing livestock on project lands and waters is prohibited except when authorized by lease, license or other written agreement with the District Commander. (e) Unauthorized livestock are subject to impoundment and removal in accordance with Federal, state and local laws. (f) Any animal impounded under the provisions of this section may be confined at a location designated by the District Commander, who may assess a reasonable impoundment fee. This fee shall be paid before the impounded animal is returned to its owner(s). (g) Wild or exotic pets and animals (including but not limited to cougars, lions, bears, bobcats, wolves, and snakes), or any pets or animals displaying vicious or aggressive behavior or otherwise posing a threat to public safety or deemed a public nuisance, are prohibited from project lands and waters unless authorized by the District Commander, and are subject to removal in accordance with Federal, state and local laws. [65 FR 6901, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.12 Restrictions. (a) The District Commander may establish and post a schedule of visiting hours and/or restrictions on the public use of a project or portion of a project. The District Commander may close or restrict the use of a project or portion of a project when necessitated by reason of public health, public safety, maintenance, resource protection or other reasons in the public interest. Entering or using a project in a manner which is contrary to the schedule of visiting hours, closures or restrictions is prohibited. (b) Quiet shall be maintained in all public use areas between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., or those hours designated by the District Commander. Excessive noise during such times which unreasonably disturbs persons is prohibited. (c) Any act or conduct by any person which interferes with, impedes or disrupts the use of the project or impairs the safety of any person is prohibited. Individuals who are boisterous, rowdy, disorderly, or otherwise disturb the peace on project lands or waters may be requested to leave the project. (d) The operation or use of any sound producing or motorized equipment, including but not limited to generators, vessels or vehicles, in such a manner as to unreasonably annoy or endanger persons at any time or exceed state or local laws governing noise levels from motorized equipment is prohibited. (e) The possession and/or consumption of alcoholic beverages on any portion of the project land or waters, or the entire project, may be prohibited when designated and posted by the District Commander. (f) Unless authorized by the District Commander, smoking is prohibited in Visitor Centers, enclosed park buildings and in areas posted to restrict smoking. [65 FR 6901, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.13 Explosives, firearms, other weapons and fireworks. (a) The possession of loaded firearms, ammunition, loaded projectile firing devices, bows and arrows, crossbows, or other weapons is prohibited unless:
(1) In the possession of a Federal, state or local law enforcement officer; (2) Being used for hunting or fishing as permitted under § 327.8, with devices being unloaded when transported to, from or between hunting and fishing sites; (3) Being used at authorized shooting ranges; or (4) Written permission has been received from the District Commander.
(b) Possession of explosives or explosive devices of any kind, including fireworks or other pyrotechnics, is prohibited unless written permission has been received from the District Commander. [65 FR 6901, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.14 Public property. (a) Destruction, injury, defacement, removal or any alteration of public property including, but not limited to, developed facilities, natural formations, mineral deposits, historical and archaeological features, paleontological resources, boundary monumentation or markers and vegetative growth, is prohibited except when in accordance with written permission of the District Commander. (b) Cutting or gathering of trees or parts of trees and/or the removal of wood from project lands is prohibited without written permission of the District Commander. (c) Gathering of dead wood on the ground for use in designated recreation areas as firewood is permitted, unless prohibited and posted by the District Commander. (d) The use of metal detectors is permitted on designated beaches or other previously disturbed areas unless prohibited by the District Commander for reasons of protection of archaeological, historical or paleontological resources. Specific information regarding metal detector policy and designated use areas is available at the Manager's Office. Items found must be handled in accordance with §§ 327.15 and 327.16 except for non-identifiable items such as coins of value less than $25. [65 FR 6901, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.15 Abandonment and impoundment of personal property. (a) Personal property of any kind shall not be abandoned, stored or left unattended upon project lands or waters. After a period of 24 hours, or at any time after a posted closure hour in a public use area or for the purpose of providing public safety or resource protection, unattended personal property shall be presumed to be abandoned and may be impounded and stored at a storage point designated by the District Commander, who may assess a reasonable impoundment fee. Such fee shall be paid before the impounded property is returned to its owner. (b) Personal property placed on Federal lands or waters adjacent to a private residence, facility and/or developments of any private nature for more than 24 hours without permission of the District Commander shall be presumed to have been abandoned and, unless proven otherwise, such presumption will be sufficient to impound the property and/or issue a citation as provided for in § 327.25. (c) The District Commander shall, by public or private sale or otherwise, dispose of all lost, abandoned or unclaimed personal property that comes into Government custody or control. However, property may not be disposed of until diligent effort has been made to find the owner, heirs, next of kin or legal representative(s). If the owner, heirs, next of kin or legal representative(s) are determined but not found, the property may not be disposed of until the expiration of 120 days after the date when notice, giving the time and place of the intended sale or other disposition, has been sent by certified or registered mail to that person at the last known address. When diligent efforts to determine the owner, heirs, next of kin or legal representative(s) are unsuccessful, the property may be disposed of without delay except that if it has a fair market value of $100 or more the property may not be disposed of until 90 days after the date it is received at the storage point designated by the District Commander. The net proceeds from the sale of property shall be conveyed into the Treasury of the United States as miscellaneous receipts. [65 FR 6901, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.16 Lost and found articles. All articles found shall be deposited by the finder at the Manager's office or with a ranger. All such articles shall be disposed of in accordance with the procedures set forth in § 327.15. [65 FR 6902, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.17 Advertisement. (a) Advertising and the distribution of printed matter is allowed within project land and waters provided that a permit to do so has been issued by the District Commander and provided that this activity is not solely commercial advertising. (b) An application for such a permit shall set forth the name of the applicant, the name of the organization (if any), the date, time, duration, and location of the proposed advertising or the distribution of printed matter, the number of participants, and any other information required by the permit application form. Permit conditions and procedures are available from the District Commander. (c) Vessels and vehicles with semipermanent or permanent painted or installed signs are exempt as long as they are used for authorized recreational activities and comply with all other rules and regulations pertaining to vessels and vehicles. (d) The District Commander shall, without unreasonable delay, issue a permit on proper application unless:
(1) A prior application for a permit for the same time and location has been made that has been or will be granted and the activities authorized by that permit do not reasonably allow multiple occupancy of the particular area; or (2) It reasonably appears that the advertising or the distribution of printed matter will present a clear and present danger to the public health and safety; or (3) The number of persons engaged in the advertising or the distribution of printed matter exceeds the number that can reasonably be accommodated in the particular location applied for, considering such things as damage to project resources or facilities, impairment of a protected area's atmosphere of peace and tranquility, interference with program activities, or impairment of public use facilities; or (4) The location applied for has not been designated as available for the advertising or the distribution of printed matter; or (5) The activity would constitute a violation of an applicable law or regulation.
(e) If a permit is denied, the applicant shall be so informed in writing, with the reason(s) for the denial set forth. (f) The District Commander shall designate on a map, which shall be available for inspection in the applicable project office, the locations within the project that are available for the advertising or the distribution of printed matter. Locations may be designated as not available only if the advertising or the distribution of printed matter would:
(1) Cause injury or damage to project resources; or (2) Unreasonably impair the atmosphere of the peace and tranquility maintained in natural, historic, or commemorative zones; or (3) Unreasonably interfere with interpretive, visitor service, or other program activities, or with the administrative activities of the Corps of Engineers; or (4) Substantially impair the operation of public use facilities or services of Corps of Engineers concessioners or contractors. (5) Present a clear and present danger to the public health and safety.
(g) The permit may contain such conditions as are reasonably consistent with protection and use of the project area for the purposes for which it is established. (h) No permit shall be issued for a period in excess of 14 consecutive days, provided that permits may be extended for like periods, upon a new application, unless another applicant has requested use of the same location and multiple occupancy of that location is not reasonably possible. (i) It is prohibited for persons engaged in the activity under this section to obstruct or impede pedestrians or vehicles, harass project visitors with physical contact or persistent demands, misrepresent the purposes or affiliations of those engaged in the advertising or the distribution of printed matter, or misrepresent whether the printed matter is available without cost or donation. (j) A permit may be revoked under any of those conditions, as listed in paragraph (d) of this section, that constitute grounds for denial of a permit, or for violation of the terms and conditions of the permit. Such a revocation shall be made in writing, with the reason(s) for revocation clearly set forth, except under emergency circumstances, when an immediate verbal revocation or suspension may be made, to be followed by written confirmation within 72 hours. (k) Violation of the terms and conditions of a permit issued in accordance with this section may result in the suspension or revocation of the permit. [65 FR 26137, May 5, 2000] § 327.18 Commercial activities. (a) The engaging in or solicitation of business on project land or waters without the express written permission of the District Commander is prohibited. (b) It shall be a violation of this part to refuse to or fail to comply with any terms, clauses or conditions of any lease, license or agreements issued by the District Commander. [65 FR 6902, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.19 Permits. (a) It shall be a violation of this part to refuse to or fail to comply with the fee requirements or other terms or conditions of any permit issued under the provisions of this part 327. (b) Permits for floating structures (issued under the authority of § 327.30) of any kind on/in waters of water resources development projects, whether or not such waters are deemed navigable waters of the United States but where such waters are under the management of the Corps of Engineers, shall be issued at the discretion of the District Commander under the authority of this section. District Commanders will delineate those portions of the navigable waters of the United States where this provision is applicable and post notices of this designation in the vicinity of the appropriate Manager's office. (c) Permits for non-floating structures (issued under the authority of § 327.30) of any kind constructed, placed in or affecting waters of water resources development projects where such waters are deemed navigable waters of the U.S. shall be issued under the provisions of section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act approved March 3, 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403). If a discharge of dredged or fill material in these waters is involved, a permit is required under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344). (See 33 CFR parts 320 through 330.) (d) Permits for non-floating structures (issued under the authority of § 327.30) of any kind in waters of water resources development projects, where such waters are under the management of the Corps of Engineers and where such waters are not deemed navigable waters of the United States, shall be issued as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. If a discharge of dredged or fill material into any water of the United States is involved, a permit is required under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344) (See 33 CFR parts 320 through 330). Water quality certification may be required pursuant to Section 401 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1341). (e) Shoreline Use Permits to authorize private shoreline use facilities, activities or development (issued under the authority of § 327.30) may be issued in accordance with the project Shoreline Management Plan. Failure to comply with the permit conditions issued under § 327.30 is prohibited. [65 FR 6902, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.20 Unauthorized structures. The construction, placement, or existence of any structure (including, but not limited to, roads, trails, signs, non-portable hunting stands or blinds, buoys, docks, or landscape features) of any kind under, upon, in or over the project lands, or waters is prohibited unless a permit, lease, license or other appropriate written authorization has been issued by the District Commander. The design, construction, placement, existence or use of structures in violation of the terms of the permit, lease, license, or other written authorization is prohibited. The government shall not be liable for the loss of, or damage to, any private structures, whether authorized or not, placed on project lands or waters. Unauthorized structures are subject to summary removal or impoundment by the District Commander. Portable hunting stands, climbing devices, steps, or blinds, that are not nailed or screwed into trees and are removed at the end of a day's hunt may be used. [65 FR 6902, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.21 Special events. (a) Special events including, but not limited to, water carnivals, boat regattas, fishing tournaments, music festivals, dramatic presentations or other special recreation programs are prohibited unless written permission has been granted by the District Commander. Where appropriate, District Commanders can provide the state a blanket letter of permission to permit fishing tournaments while coordinating the scheduling and details of tournaments with individual projects. An appropriate fee may be charged under the authority of § 327.23. (b) The public shall not be charged any fee by the sponsor of such event unless the District Commander has approved in writing (and the sponsor has properly posted) the proposed schedule of fees. The District Commander shall have authority to revoke permission, require removal of any equipment, and require restoration of an area to pre-event condition, upon failure of the sponsor to comply with terms and conditions of the permit/permission or the regulations in this part 327. [65 FR 6902, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.22 Unauthorized occupation. (a) Occupying any lands, buildings, vessels or other facilities within water resource development projects for the purpose of maintaining the same as a full-or part-time residence without the written permission of the District Commander is prohibited. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the occupation of lands for the purpose of camping, in accordance with the provisions of § 327.7. (b) Use of project lands or waters for agricultural purposes is prohibited except when in compliance with terms and conditions authorized by lease, license or other written agreement issued by the District Commander. [65 FR 6903, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.23 Recreation use fees. (a) In accordance with the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act of 1965 (16 U.S.C. 460l) and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, Pub. L. 103–66, the Corps of Engineers collects day use fees, special recreation use fees and/or special permit fees for the use of specialized sites, facilities, equipment or services related to outdoor recreation furnished at Federal expense. (b) Where such fees are charged, the District Commander shall insure that clear notice of fee requirements is prominently posted at each area, and at appropriate locations therein and that the notice be included in publications distributed at such areas. Failure to pay authorized recreation use fees as established pursuant to Pub. L. 88–578, 78 Stat. 897, as amended (16 U.S.C. 460l–6a), is prohibited and is punishable by a fine of not more than $100. (c) Failure to pay authorized day use fees, and/or properly display applicable receipt, permit or pass is prohibited. (d) Any Golden Age or Golden Access Passport permittee shall be entitled, upon presentation of such a permit, to utilize special recreation facilities at a rate of 50 percent off the established use fee at Federally operated areas. Fraudulent use of a Golden Age or Golden Access Passport is prohibited. [65 FR 6903, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.24 Interference with Government employees. (a) It is a Federal crime pursuant to the provisions of sections 111 and 1114 of Title 18, United States Code, to forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, or interfere with, attempt to kill or kill any civilian official or employee for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers engaged in the performance of his or her official duties, or on account of the performance of his or her official duties. Such actions or interference directed against a Federal employee while carrying out the regulations in this part are violation of such regulations and may be a state crime pursuant to the laws of the state where they occur. (b) Failure to comply with a lawful order issued by a Federal employee acting pursuant to the regulations in this part shall be considered as interference with that employee while engaged in the performance of their official duties. Such interference with a Federal employee includes failure to provide a correct name, address or other information deemed necessary for identification upon request of the Federal employee, when that employee is authorized by the District Commander to issue citations in the performance of the employee's official duties. [65 FR 6903, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.25 Violations of rules and regulations. (a) Any person who violates the provisions of the regulations in this part, other than for a failure to pay authorized recreation use fees as separately provided for in § 327.23, may be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both and may be tried and sentenced in accordance with the provisions of section 3401 of Title 18, United States Code. Persons designated by the District Commander shall have the authority to issue a citation for violation of the regulations in this part, requiring any person charged with the violation to appear before the United States Magistrate within whose jurisdiction the affected water resources development project is located (16 U.S.C. 460d). (b) Any person who commits an act against any official or employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that is a crime under the provisions of section 111 or section 1114 of Title 18, United States Code or under provisions of pertinent state law may be tried and sentenced as further provided under Federal or state law, as the case may be. [65 FR 6903, Feb. 11, 2000] § 327.26 State and local laws. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this part or by Federal law or regulation, state and local laws and ordinances shall apply on project lands and waters. This includes, but is not limited to, state and local laws and ordinances governing:
(1) Operation and use of motor vehicles, vessels, and aircraft; (2) Hunting, fishing and trapping; (3) Use or possession of firearms or other weapons; (4) Civil disobedience and criminal acts; (5) Littering, sanitation and pollution; and (6) Alcohol or other controlled substances.
(b) These state and local laws and ordinances are enforced by those state and local enforcement agencies established and authorized for that purpose. [65 FR 6903, Feb. 11, 2000] §§ 327.27-327.29 [Reserved] § 327.30 Shoreline Management on Civil Works Projects. (a) Purpose. The purpose of this regulation is to provide policy and guidance on management of shorelines of Civil Works projects where 36 CFR part 327 is applicable. (b) Applicability. This regulation is applicable to all field operating agencies with Civil Works responsibilities except when such application would result in an impingement upon existing Indian rights. (c) References.
(1) Section 4, 1944 Flood Control Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 460d). (2) The Rivers and Harbors Act of 1894, as amended and supplemented (33 U.S.C. 1) (3) Section 10, River and Harbor Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403). (4) National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (Pub. L. 89–665; 80 Stat. 915) as amended (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.). (5) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.). (6) The Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344, et seq.). (7) The Water Resources Development Act of 1986 (Pub. L. 99–662). (8) Title 36, chapter III, part 327, Code of Federal Regulations, “Rules and Regulations Governing Public Use of Water Resource Development Projects Administered by the Chief of Engineers.” (9) Executive Order 12088 (13 Oct. 78). (10) 33 CFR parts 320–330, “Regulatory Programs of the Corps of Engineers.” (11) ER 1130–2–400, “Management of Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation at Civil Works Water Resource Projects.” (12) EM 385–1–1, “Safety and Health Requirements Manual.”
(d) Policy.
(1) It is the policy of the Chief of Engineers to protect and manage shorelines of all Civil Works water resource development projects under Corps jurisdiction in a manner which will promote the safe and healthful use of these shorelines by the public while maintaining environmental safeguards to ensure a quality resource for use by the public. The objectives of all management actions will be to achieve a balance between permitted private uses and resource protection for general public use. Public pedestrian access to and exit from these shorelines shall be preserved. For projects or portions of projects where Federal real estate interest is limited to easement title only, management actions will be appropriate within the limits of the estate acquired. (2) Private shoreline uses may be authorized in designated areas consistent with approved use allocations specified in Shoreline Management Plans. Except to honor written commitments made prior to publication of this regulation, private shoreline uses are not allowed on water resource projects where construction was initiated after December 13, 1974, or on water resource projects where no private shoreline uses existed as of that date. Any existing permitted facilities on these projects will be grandfathered until the facilities fail to meet the criteria set forth in § 327.30(h). (3) A Shoreline Management Plan, as described in § 327.30(e), will be prepared for each Corps project where private shoreline use is allowed. This plan will honor past written commitments. The plan will be reviewed at least once every five years and revised as necessary. Shoreline uses that do not interfere with authorized project purposes, public safety concerns, violate local norms or result in significant environmental effects should be allowed unless the public participation process identifies problems in these areas. If sufficient demand exists, consideration should be given to revising the shoreline allocations (e.g. increases/decreases). Maximum public participation will be encouraged as set forth in § 327.30(e)(6). Except to honor written commitments made prior to the publication of this regulation, shoreline management plans are not required for those projects where construction was initiated after December 13, 1974, or on projects not having private shoreline use as of that date. In that case, a statement of policy will be developed by the district commander to present the shoreline management policy. This policy statement will be subject to the approval of the division commander. For projects where two or more agencies have jurisdiction, the plan will be cooperatively prepared with the Corps as coordinator. (4) Where commercial or other public launching and/or moorage facilities are not available within a reasonable distance, group owned mooring facilities may be allowed in Limited Development Areas to limit the proliferation of individual facilities. Generally only one permit will be necessary for a group owned mooring facility with that entity, if incorporated, or with one person from the organization designated as the permittee and responsible for all moorage spaces within the facility. No charge may be made for use of any permitted facility by others nor shall any commercial activity be engaged in thereon. (5) The issuance of a private shoreline use permit does not convey any real estate or personal property rights or exclusive use rights to the permit holder. The public's right of access and use of the permit area must be maintained and preserved. Owners of permitted facilities may take necessary precautions to protect their property from theft, vandalism or trespass, but may in no way preclude the public right of pedestrian or vessel access to the water surface or public land adjacent to the facility. (6) Shoreline Use Permits will only be issued to individuals or groups with legal right of access to public lands.
(e) Shoreline Management Plan —
(1) General. The policies outlined in § 327.30(d) will be implemented through preparation of Shoreline Management Plans, where private shoreline use is allowed. (2) Preparation. A Shoreline Management Plan is prepared as part of the Operational Management Plan. A moratorium on accepting applications for new permits may be placed in effect from the time an announcement of creation of a plan or formal revision of a plan is made until the action is completed. (3) Approval. Approval of Shoreline Management Plans rests with division commanders. After approval, one copy of each project Shoreline Management Plan will be forwarded to HQUSACE (CECW-ON) WASH DC 20314–1000. Copies of the approved plan will also be made available to the public. (4) Scope and Format. The Shoreline Management Plan will consist of a map showing the shoreline allocated to the uses listed in § 327.30(e)(6), related rules and regulations, a discussion of what areas are open or closed to specific activities and facilities, how to apply for permits and other information pertinent to the Corps management of the shoreline. The plan will be prepared in sufficient detail to ensure that it is clear to the public what uses are and are not allowed on the shoreline of the project and why. A process will be developed and presented in the Shoreline Management Plan that prescribes a procedure for review of activities requested but not specifically addressed by the Shoreline Management Plan. (5) Shoreline Allocation. The entire shoreline will be allocated within the classifications below and delineated on a map. Any action, within the context of this rule, which gives a special privilege to an individual or group of individuals on land or water at a Corps project, that precludes use of those lands and waters by the general public, is considered to be private shoreline use. Shoreline allocations cover that land and/or water extending from the edge of the water and waterward with the exception of allocations for the purpose of vegetation modification which extends landward to the project boundary. These allocations should complement, but certainly not contradict, the land classifications in the project master plan. A map of sufficient size and scale to clearly display the shoreline allocations will be conspicuously displayed or readily available for viewing in the project administration office and will serve as the authoritative reference. Reduced or smaller scale maps may be developed for public dissemination but the information contained on these must be identical to that contained on the display map in the project administration office. No changes will be made to these maps except through the formal update process. District commanders may add specific constraints and identify areas having unique characteristics during the plan preparation, review, or updating process in addition to the allocation classifications described below.
(i) Limited Development Areas. Limited Development Areas are those areas in which private facilities and/or activities may be allowed consistent with § 327.30(h) and appendix A. Modification of vegetation by individuals may be allowed only following the issuance of a permit in accordance with appendix A. Potential low and high water conditions and underwater topography should be carefully evaluated before shoreline is allocated as Limited Development Area. (ii) Public Recreation Areas. Public Recreation Areas are those areas designated for commercial concessionaire facilities, Federal, state or other similar public use. No private shoreline use facilities and/or activities will be permitted within or near designated or developed public recreation areas. The term “near” depends on the terrain, road system, and other local conditions, so actual distances must be established on a case by case basis in each project Shoreline Management Plan. No modification of land forms or vegetation by private individuals or groups of individuals is permitted in public recreation areas. (iii) Protected Shoreline Areas. Protected Shoreline Areas are those areas designated to maintain or restore aesthetic, fish and wildlife, cultural, or other environmental values. Shoreline may also be so designated to prevent development in areas that are subject to excessive siltation, erosion, rapid dewatering, or exposure to high wind, wave, or current action and/or in areas in which development would interfere with navigation. No Shoreline Use Permits for floating or fixed recreation facilities will be allowed in protected areas. Some modification of vegetation by private individuals, such as clearing a narrow meandering path to the water, or limited mowing, may be allowed only following the issuance of a permit if the resource manager determines that the activity will not adversely impact the environment or physical characteristics for which the area was designated as protected. In making this determination the effect on water quality will also be considered. (iv) Prohibited Access Areas. Prohibited Access Areas are those in which public access is not allowed or is restricted for health, safety or security reasons. These could include hazardous areas near dams, spillways, hydro-electric power stations, work areas, water intake structures, etc. No shoreline use permits will be issued in Prohibited Access Areas.
(6) Public Participation. District commanders will ensure public participation to the maximum practicable extent in Shoreline Management Plan formulation, preparation and subsequent revisions. This may be accomplished by public meetings, group workshops, open houses or other public involvement techniques. When master plan updates and preparation of the Shoreline Management Plans are concurrent, public participation may be combined and should consider all aspects of both plans, including shoreline allocation classifications. Public participation will begin during the initial formulation stage and must be broad-based to cover all aspects of public interest. The key to successful implementation is an early and continual public relations program. Projects with significant numbers of permits should consider developing computerized programs to facilitate exchange of information with permittees and to improve program efficiency. Special care will be taken to advise citizen and conservation organizations; Federal, state and local natural resource management agencies; Indian Tribes; the media; commercial concessionaires; congressional liaisons; adjacent landowners and other concerned entities during the formulation of Shoreline Management Plans and subsequent revisions. Notices shall be published prior to public meetings to assure maximum public awareness. Public notices shall be issued by the district commander allowing for a minimum of 30 days for receipt of written public comment in regard to the proposed Shoreline Management Plan or any major revision thereto. (7) Periodic Review. Shoreline Management Plans will be reviewed periodically, but no less often than every five years, by the district commander to determine the need for update. If sufficient controversy or demand exists, consideration should be given, consistent with other factors, to a process of reevaluation of the shoreline allocations and the plan. When changes to the Shoreline Management Plan are needed, the plan will be formally updated through the public participation process. Cumulative environmental impacts of permit actions and the possibility of preparing or revising project NEPA documentation will be considered. District commanders may make minor revisions to the Shoreline Management Plan when the revisions are consistent with policy and funds for a complete plan update are not available. The amount and type of public involvement needed for such revision is at the discretion of the district commander.
(f) Instruments for Shoreline Use. Instruments used to authorize private shoreline use facilities, activities or development are as follows:
(1) Shoreline Use Permits.
(i) Shoreline Use Permits are issued and enforced in accordance with provisions of 36 CFR 327.19. (ii) Shoreline Use Permits are required for private structures/activities of any kind (except boats) in waters of Civil Works projects whether or not such waters are deemed navigable and where such waters are under the primary jurisdiction of the Secretary of the Army and under the management of the Corps of Engineers. (iii) Shoreline Use Permits are required for non-floating structures on waters deemed commercially non-navigable, when such waters are under management of the Corps of Engineers. (iv) Shoreline Use Permits are also required for land vegetation modification activities which do not involve disruption to land form. (v) Permits should be issued for a term of five years. To reduce administration costs, one year permits should be issued only when the location or nature of the activity requires annual reissuance. (vi) Shoreline Use Permits for erosion control may be issued for the life or period of continual ownership of the structure by the permittee and his/her legal spouse.
(2) Department of the Army Permits. Dredging, construction of fixed structures, including fills and combination fixed-floating structures and the discharge of dredged or fill material in waters of the United States will be evaluated under authority of section 10, River and Harbor Act of 1899 (33 U.S.C. 403) and section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344). Permits will be issued where appropriate. (3) Real Estate Instruments. Commercial development activities and activities which involve grading, cuts, fills, or other changes in land form, or establishment of appropriate land-based support facilities required for private floating facilities, will continue to be covered by a lease, license or other legal grant issued through the appropriate real estate element. Shoreline Management Plans should identify the types of activities that require real estate instruments and indicate the general process for obtaining same. Shoreline Use Permits are not required for facilities or activities covered by a real estate instrument.
(g) Transfer of Permits. Shoreline Use Permits are non-transferable. They become null and void upon sale or transfer of the permitted facility or the death of the permittee and his/her legal spouse. (h) Existing Facilities Now Under Permit. Implementation of a Shoreline Management Plan shall consider existing permitted facilities and prior written Corps commitments implicit in their issuance. Facilities or activities permitted under special provisions should be identified in a way that will set them apart from other facilities or activities.
(1) Section 6 of Pub. L. 97–140 provides that no lawfully installed dock or appurtenant structures shall be required to be removed prior to December 31, 1989, from any Federal water resources reservoir or lake project administered by the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of Engineers, on which it was located on December 29, 1981, if such property is maintained in usable condition, and does not occasion a threat to life or property. (2) In accordance with section 1134(d) of Pub. L. 99–662, any houseboat, boathouse, floating cabin or lawfully installed dock or appurtenant structures in place under a valid shoreline use permit as of November 17, 1986, cannot be forced to be removed from any Federal water resources project or lake administered by the Secretary of the Army on or after December 31, 1989, if it meets the three conditions below except where necessary for immediate use for public purposes or higher public use or for a navigation or flood control project.
(i) Such property is maintained in a usable and safe condition, (ii) Such property does not occasion a threat to life or property, and (iii) The holder of the permit is in substantial compliance with the existing permit.
(3) All such floating facilities and appurtenances will be formally recognized in an appropriate Shoreline Management Plan. New permits for these permitted facilities will be issued to new owners. If the holder of the permit fails to comply with the terms of the permit, it may be revoked and the holder required to remove the structure, in accordance with the terms of the permit as to notice, time, and appeal.
(i) Facility Maintenance. Permitted facilities must be operated, used and maintained by the permittee in a safe, healthful condition at all times. If determined to be unsafe, the resource manager will establish together with the permittee a schedule, based on the seriousness of the safety deficiency, for correcting the deficiency or having it removed, at the permittee's expense. The applicable safety and health prescriptions in EM 385–1–1 should be used as a guide. (j) Density of Development. The density of private floating and fixed recreation facilities will be established in the Shoreline Management Plan for all portions of Limited Development areas consistent with ecological and aesthetic characteristics and prior written commitments. The facility density in Limited Development Areas should, if feasible, be determined prior to the development of adjacent private property. The density of facilities will not be more than 50 per cent of the Limited Development Area in which they are located. Density will be measured by determining the linear feet of shoreline as compared to the width of the facilities in the water plus associated moorage arrangements which restrict the full unobstructed use of that portion of the shoreline. When a Limited Development Area or a portion of a Limited Development area reaches maximum density, notice should be given to the public and facility owners in that area that no additional facilities will be allowed. In all cases, sufficient open area will be maintained for safe maneuvering of watercraft. Docks should not extend out from the shore more than one-third of the width of a cove at normal recreation or multipurpose pool. In those cases where current density of development exceeds the density level established in the Shoreline Management Plan, the density will be reduced to the prescribed level through attrition. (k) Permit Fees. Fees associated with the Shoreline Use Permits shall be paid prior to issuing the permit in accordance with the provisions of § 327.30(c)(1). The fee schedule will be published separately.

17 thoughts on “Army Corps of Engineers Rules for Camping”

  1. I was surprised by this: nude recreation, lewd behavior, breast-feeding, campsite setbacks, etc.

    I think breat feeding should not be included with these items. Most women are not exhibitionists.

    Reply
    • Gloria, it’s not saying that breast feeding is not allowed, it’s only saying that all state and local laws apply. Thus, if there is any state law that allows for, or prohibits, or limits, breast feeding, then that law applies on COE campgrounds too.

      Reply
    • Butch, some ACOE campgrounds and recreation areas have banned e-bikes, while some have placed limited restrictions. Most other campgrounds and recreations have not issued any such ban. However, the ACOE does have a rule that says all vehicles (motorized or not) must conform to federal, state, and local laws. Thus, the issue comes down to whether an e-bike is a motor vehicle or not. Because the ACOE has not addressed this matter on a federal level, each campground and recreation area is trying to figure this out for themselves. For more information about this, see… https://www.boondockersbible.com/knowledgebase/are-e-bikes-allowed-on-army-corps-of-engineers-campgrounds/

      Reply
  2. Still a bit confused. I understand no concealed carry is allowed without written permission.
    You state that basically locked guns are allowed if unloaded, nothing about ammo.
    I do not find any clear answer to this on there website other than they are not allowed.
    Question: Can I camp legally in COE campgrounds if Gun is in a lockbox and ammo is separate without asking permission? My thought is to avoid COE land

    Reply
  3. Hello, On Recreation.gov looks like you can’t make reservations till May1. I see comments that people were staying in February. How are they doing this? I was looking for a few days in mid April. Thank-you

    Reply
  4. Thanks for the link to the corps’ web site. It says “(a) The possession of loaded firearms, ammunition, loaded projectile firing devices, bows and arrows, crossbows, or other weapons is prohibited unless:” The inclusion of ammunition as prohibited makes wrong your assumption about an unloaded weapon and ammo separate from it. Glad I read their information. It looks like it even prohibits signal flare guns. Sad.

    Reply
    • Randell, the Army Corps of Engineers has a rule stating that you are allowed to camp only in areas that have been designated for camping. That is, you cannot camp in places that were not set aside for camping. If your goal is to boondock away from other campers, you can still do so as long as you remain on campground land, and as long as that campground has no other policies against it. For example, most campgrounds run by the ACOE require you to be camped in marked campsites. However, I do know of other campgrounds where there are no marked sites, and that you are free to camp anywhere as long as you remain within the boundaries of the campground.

      Reply
  5. I’m trying to find out if the corps of engineers would be willing to let me buy the land I’m leasing from them on “SEMINOLE LAKE “ AKA Seminole lodge&marina?

    Reply
  6. I would like to know how many tree tents and or regular tent can be on one site together, example 1 tent and three tree tents, or three tents and two tree tents, or can you have a tree tent per person

    Reply
    • Diana, the ACOE does not specify camping occupancy in terms of number of people, at least not on a national level. It’s possible a specific recreation area may adopt it’s own rules, but all recreation area generally use the same national rules mentioned in this article. The best advice is to just go there and set yourself up. Most likely, park rangers won’t say anything. Park rangers are generally looking for bigger problems like fire violations, unauthorized events, etc.

      Reply
  7. Okay so Ebikes are not allowed but the attendant uses an Ebike to make his rounds what’s right about this rule?

    Reply

Leave a Comment