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Forest Service Wants To Make Campgrounds Privately Operated

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ The U-S Forest Service would like to allow private operation of seven campgrounds and a group-use facility in the Ouachita National Forest, a move it says will better serve the public.

Two of the campgrounds slated for private operation are in Oklahoma.

Tim Oosterhous, the recreation program manager for the Forest Service, says that the agency's capacity to provide services to the public is declining and that the move is a cost-saving measure.

Oosterhous says the Forest Service will still run the other 52 sites in the Ouachita National Forest. He says the eight sites chosen for private operation are the forest's biggest money makers, bringing in 280-thosuand-dollars every three years.

Oosterhous says private concessionaires can offer the public more services. For example, no vendors or canoe-rental businesses currently operate in the Ouachita National Forest, but concessionaires could provide such options.
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