Area Lakes Reopening After Early Summer Floods

Friday, August 14th 2015, 10:55 pm
By: News On 6

Area lakes that shut down due to damage and heavy summer flooding are now open, and park rangers say crews and volunteers have been working hard to get things back in order.

All summer long, depending on which lake you wanted to visit, it was a tossup on whether or not it would actually be open.

At times, water levels reached 30 feet higher than normal; and while most of it has gone down, safety still remains a top priority.

Mother Nature was hard at work in May, June and much of July, filling lakes across Oklahoma with way more water than lake lovers like Dennis Trammel, are used to.

"The water was up high. We came in and it went up so far that way we had to walk down this way," he said.

Twice a year, Dennis and his wife Sherry load up to spend at least a week camping.

"We just lucked out we got it in August. If we would have come June or July we wouldn't have been able to come out," Sherry said.

While people can now fish by the rocks and play games along the shoreline, for much of the summer that wasn't possible.

In many places, the water was too high to get to and the dams were sending out water faster than people had seen in years.

Camp Ranger Justin Smither said, “It's crazy to see how high the water gets, and it's hard to explain, it's just something you'd have to see."

While the shutdown of so many lakes made it hard for people to have fun, rangers said it was necessary for safety.

“One time it got really high and it was just debris out there floating, and there was a cow on top of the debris, and there's a lot of logs hidden under there,” the Trammels said. “And there's picnic tables; you gotta worry about that, especially if you have a boat and they are cement."

But now, the Army Corp of Engineers says all of the recreation areas and campgrounds have been recovered and repaired; even rec areas at Keystone, Fort Gibson, Skiatook and Oologah that had been closed before the flooding for repairs are now open for the public to enjoy.

6/16/2015 Related Story: Corps Of Engineers On Oklahoma Lake Flood Watch

Rangers expect the weekend to be a busy one. They said, although much of the water has gone down some areas are still a few feet higher than normal, so be on the lookout for picnic tables or logs that could be hidden under the water.

They say it’s still a good idea to be safe, and if you’re getting in the water, wear a life jacket.