Big Spring Lodge and Cabins in Van Buren, Mo., is a beloved feature of the Big Spring area and are a popular destination for visitors to Ozark National Scenic Riverways (ONSR).

They have been operated by private concessioners under contract with the National Park Service (NPS) as an essential visitor service for many years.  

At the conclusion of the most recent concession contract in the fall of 2014, the deterioration caused by decades of use and deferred maintenance prompted the NPS to close the facility until restoration work could be completed.

Because of the historical significance of the Big Spring Lodge and Cabins, the planning and design work for modifications and improvements to the facilities and surrounding landscape is a complex and lengthy process.

Superintendent Larry Johnson reported in late December that progress is being made toward accomplishing some significant milestones in the restoration process.

“While behind the scenes planning efforts have been underway for some time, progress will be more visible as construction work begins in 2017,” said Johonson. “In addition, progress is being made toward establishing a new long-term concession contract for the operation of the dining lodge and cabins.

“After our maintenance crews have repaired the critical health and safety issues, it is our goal to re-open Big Spring Lodge and Cabins as soon as possible. We know that while the major renovations are a few years out, having the facility occupied by a concessioner and in use again, before the major renovation work, is the best way to preserve these irreplaceable historic structures.

“We’re working on the new concession contract prospectus that will reflect the temporary disruption of services during renovations. Our intent is to have the critical repairs done, the concessions contract completed and the facility re-opened sometime in 2017.”

An updated schedule for completion of major projects has been tentatively established. This schedule is subject to adjustment as progress continues:

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