Mannford Back In Business Of Fun Before Holiday Weekend

Sunday, June 28th 2015, 1:08 pm
By: Tess Maune

Summertime returns - and with it one of Keystone's busiest boat ramps. The Mannford ramp is back in business this weekend after flooding shut it down for more than a month.

Almost the end of June and finally it looks like summer on Keystone Lake. Water is dropping by the hour, and Mark Matheson and his family wasted no time getting out on the water.

"It should be the start of a good summer now," said Matheson, a Sapulpa resident.

Up until now, lake season could be summed up pretty simply.

"It's been a rough summer," Matheson said.

At the beginning of June, Keystone was 31 feet above normal. High water still marks many spots around the lake. But the spray painted dates beneath the Highway 51 bridge show just how much the water has dropped in the past few weeks: 11 feet and falling fast.

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

"They're gonna be pulling a foot down a day," said Mannford Mayor Tyler Buttram. "This lake will be 10 foot lower than what you see now, Fourth of July weekend."

Few are more thrilled about the receding water than the mayor.

"Finally! We finally get to have summer now," he said.

Summertime is when the city makes its money. This year, the mayor says the town has lost thousands of dollars every day, money it won't be able to make back.

"It was depressing. The water was high, you couldn't do anything. This is a lake community, we live and die by the lake," Buttram said.

Which is why opening the road to Prairie View boat ramp is so important. It and the free ramp opened a little before noon Saturday, and Buttram noticed the difference instantly.

"The gas pumps are full with boats and a lot of SUVs are pulling in their 4-wheelers and stuff," the mayor said.

Not everything is opened just yet. Part of this dock, which takes you up to CrossTimbers Marina, is still underwater, so if folks want to get up to their boat, they'll have to be willing to walk through about three feet of water.

There were plenty careful lake-goers willing to wade through the water.

They won't have to do it for long; it should be gone by Sunday, and CrossTimbers plans open up for the first time this summer later in the week.

A late start - that couldn't come soon enough.

"Bring the kids out about every weekend, sometimes during the evenings. We pretty spend the whole summer out here," said Sapulpa resident Mark Matheson.

CrossTimbers says it will have its big firework show on the Fourth of July, and the City of Mannford says it plans to have every campground open by the holiday weekend. You'll just want to call ahead if you have reservations.