Natural Resources and Environment:

Information Regarding U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Management of Recreation Areas

RCED-83-63: Published: Dec 15, 1982. Publicly Released: Dec 15, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided: (1) a description of the National Park Service's and the Corps of Engineers' general responsibilities for managing recreation areas; (2) a comparison of the fiscal year 1983 operations and maintenance budget cuts the Corps made in its recreation activities to those it made in other operations and maintenance activities; (3) information on the Corps' decision to close three recreation areas at the Raystown Lake Project; and (4) information on the Corps' procedures for awarding recreation-related contracts at Raystown Lake.

While the Park Service manages recreation areas of national significance to preserve them for use by future generations, the Corps manages recreation areas more local or regional in nature that have been developed around water projects it operates for flood control, navigation, or water supply purposes. Both the Park Service and the Corps have reduced the amount of recreation services at their facilities as a way of reducing their fiscal year 1983 operations and maintenance costs. While the Corps' total operations and maintenance budget increased about 14 percent in fiscal year 1983, the recreation portion decreased about 7.6 percent. The only other functions that were reduced were navigation operations, studies related to operations, and natural resources maintenance. At Raystown Lake, the Corps reduced its operations and maintenance budget about $36,000 by reducing services at 3 of its 17 recreation areas. A review of contracting procedures for recreation services provided during fiscal year 1982 at Raystown Lake showed that in all cases the Corps used competitive bidding practices and in all cases but one the lowest bidders were awarded the contracts. In that one case, the lowest bidder was disqualified due to the appearance of impropriety. Competitive bidding procedures were also used for concession contracts and a forestry, fish, and wildlife management study.

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