Encampment to go on, despite fort problems
by Michele Longworth
Aug 17, 2011 | 2707 views | 0 0 comments | 140 140 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Fort Massac Encampment will still go on as planned. The re-enactors, the crafters and food vendors will all be in attendance. However, the centerpiece of the event - the fort - will not be available for use. In fact, visitors to Fort Massac State Park will notice a bright orange snow fence around the fort to keep people out of the fort area.

Fort Massac State Park Site Superintendent Chris McGinnis said Monday that there are still structural issues with the fort that will prevent it from being used during the Encampment.

Those structural issues include bowing walls and timber below the ground that has rotted.

In a public announcement from the Friends of Fort Massac Support Group in May, another problem at the fort, which began to surface prior to the spring flooding, was with the east and west barracks on the second floor of the officers' quarters.

Despite those issues surrounding the fort, "We will definitely be having the Encampment," said McGinnis, explaining that there will be certain things that will not be able to be held, such as the posting of the American flag.

And, McGinnis said that there were a few military regiments that usually camp in the barracks inside the fort, but will not be able to do so this year.

According to McGinnis, the impact of the fort's condition will have a "minimal" effect on this year's Encampment.

Officially, McGinnis said he has not been told that there is any money available for repairs to the fort. Furthermore, he said he has not been told to proceed with repair work to the fort.

As for the rest of the park, McGinnis said the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), local chapter came to the park the week of the Massac County Relay for Life and worked to restore power at the park.

"From the Department of Natural Resources standpoint, any time we can get volunteers, it's a great thing for us," said McGinnis, noting that the IBEW members worked all day on re-wiring the entire campground area.

McGinnis said currently, there are still two flush toilets that are still not available for the public to use, so the next issues will be to restore water to the campground area and to repair the flush toilets. He indicated that work would be completed soon.

He also went on to say that he hopes this week to have the boat dock ramp back on-line this week and available for public use.

"The park is slowly getting back to normal," said McGinnis, also stating all of the park's trails are open.

As for when the fort will get fixed, McGinnis said, "I don't know, I have no idea when."

Fort Massac's Encampment will be held Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15 and 16.

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