News Releases at John H. Kerr

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North Bend Park at John H Kerr Reservoir to OPEN

BOYDTON, V.A. – North Bend Park at John H. Kerr Dam and Reservoir (Buggs Island), 64 N. Bend Drive, is now scheduled to OPEN for the 2023 summer recreation season.

North Bend Park has been closed since November 1, 2022, to repair and upgrade infrastructure throughout the park. However, the planned improvements have been temporarily postponed. Due to the delay, we plan to open the park for a portion of the recreation season.

North Bend Park will be open May 15, 2023, through September 15, 2023, for camping. All campsites, including the group camping areas, will be available for reservation starting April 5, 2023, at 10:00AM. The North Bend main boat ramp and Area A ramp will be open March 22, 2023, through September 15, 2023.

During this period, the North Bend Day Use area will remain closed due to the delays in the repairs. This includes the day-use swim beach, Osage picnic area/fishing pier, and disc golf course. Nearby areas, such as Palmer Point Park, Liberty Hill, and Rudds Creek Day Use will be open and provide similar opportunities.

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work through the project and apologize for any inconvenience. Please follow us on Facebook for updates: @JohnHKerrReservoirBuggsIslandLake.

If you have any questions about the closure or alternative recreation areas, please contact the Visitor Assistance Center, at 434-738-6143.

Contact: Thomas Coleman (434)738-6143 X 6152


John H. Kerr Preparing to Conduct Prescribed Burns

BOYDTON, VA - What is a prescribed burn? A prescribed burn is a planned fire, conducted by trained professionals, used to achieve specific natural resource objectives. Many types of plants and wildlife need fire to survive.  Periodic fire stimulates growth, helps reproduction of plants, provides wildlife habitat, and ensures healthier natural areas around the lake. The US Army Corps of Engineers conducts prescribed burns each year between the months of December and April. The burns are carried out on large portions of natural areas around the lake including: Wildlife Management Areas, timber tracts, and recreational sites.  Safety is the number one concern during all prescribed burns. Well before a match is struck, the fire team considers the safety of people, property, and the natural areas they are managing. Safety considerations and preparations include:

  • Burn Plan: a detailed plan is created for each specific burn that includes the burn objectives, plans for fire and smoke control, acceptable weather conditions, equipment and personnel needs, and contingencies for changing conditions.
  • Firebreak Construction: wide corridors of cleared land that are free of burnable material are created around each burn area, ensuring that the fire does not leave the designated burn site.
  • Smoke Management: prescribed burns are conducted only when conditions will minimize the amount of smoke produced and its effect on people.
  • Certified Fire Team: all of the prescribed burns by the US Army Corps of Engineers at the John H Kerr Reservoir are conducted by trained professionals, certified by both North Carolina and Virginia Forest Service agencies.   

The natural resource managers with the US Army Corps of Engineers conduct prescribed burns for a number of reasons. Prescribed burns help to reduce the hazardous buildup of vegetation, known as fuel, which if left unchecked could lead to a devastating wildfire that would threaten the local communities. Furthermore, many plant and animal species need fire to thrive. Prescribed burns help reduce competition, release seeds, add precious nutrients into the soil, and promotes beneficial plant species that attract wildlife. Prescribed burns also play a large role in forest management where they are used for understory control, disease containment, and site preparation.  The following sites are scheduled to be burned during the 2023 prescribed burn season. This list is subject to change based on weather and site conditions:

Merifield WMA Eagle Point WMA Liberty Hill WMA
Cedar Grove WMA Buffalo WMA Turtle Head Forest Management Area
Old Sudan WMA Rudds Creek WMA Hogan Creek WMA
Bluestone WMA Buffalo Park North Bend Park


As members of the public who enjoy the John H Kerr Reservoir, the US Army Corps of Engineers hope you recognize the importance of prescribed burning as a necessary tool used to protect you and your community and improve ecosystem health in the natural areas around the lake. Thank you for your understanding during the prescribed burn season. For additional information please contact the Visitor Assistance Center at 434-738-6143.

Notices at John H. Kerr

When boating beyond buoy 23,  use caution and proceed at slow speeds due to the shallow waters and changing nature of the river channels!