FORT PAYNE, Ala. (WHNT) — DeSoto Falls is now closed for a project and won’t reopen to the public for two months. The park’s picnic and overlook areas will be closed during this time.

“Over the next couple of months, we’re going to be doing some dredging work to remove the silt and debris that’s washed in along the bank here above the dam at DeSoto Falls,” said Josh Hughes, DeSoto State Park Superintendent.

Park officials say debris and silt have been washing up along the Falls’ shore for years, especially when it floods. Dredging work will prevent this, allowing the park to create a beach and designated swimming area.

“Thousands of visitors enjoy DeSoto Falls every year, and it’s no secret that we cherish it as a truly special place,” said Hughes. “This temporary closure should make it better than ever for our visitors. That’s the goal.”

Hughes says visitors will be able to fish from the bank easier. There will also be a designated swimming area that will keep kayakers and the swimmers separated.

“Years ago, there was a sandy beach area and out in the water, there was a diving platform,” said Hughes. “Once all the silt and debris are removed, the sandy beach area will be returned here. I don’t expect us to ever put the diving board back.”

Work is expected to take 60 days after starting on January 24, but weather could factor into just how long the park will stay closed.

“We believe visitors will be able to again enjoy the Falls’ scenic beauty when spring arrives,” said Alabama State Parks Director Greg Lein.

“DeSoto Falls is one of Alabama’s true treasures, and we take our responsibility to protect it seriously,” Lein continued. “We apologize for any inconvenience this work will cause for our visitors, but it is critical to making sure the Falls is here for generations to come.”

The park’s parking lot will also be repaved after the dredging work. That will cause more temporary closures.

Hughes wants to remind those planning to visit the state park, that the picnic area is the only place closed at the moment. All other entrances and areas are accessible to the public.

For more information on DeSoto State Park, click here.