Campers, Boaters Take Advantage Of What They Can At Lake Eufaula

Thursday, May 21st 2015, 7:29 pm
By: Tess Maune

It's been two weeks of high waters at Lake Eufaula, and even with the dam releasing hundreds of thousands of gallons of water every second, there's been no relief.

But with Memorial Day weekend coming up, campers and boaters are taking advantage of what they can.

Even though it's 13.5 feet above normal, and many of the campgrounds and boat ramps are closed, Lake Eufaula is open and lake rangers ask anyone getting out on the water to play with caution.

5/20/2015 Related Story: Keeping Up With Mother Nature An Around The Clock Job At Eufaula Dam

With the sound of summer splashing to shore, lake and fishing season are almost in full swing, but the high water and all the stuff that's washed in with it have boaters, like Larry Kline and Danny Morgan being extra careful.

“Yeah, yeah, we go pretty slow...take our time,” Morgan said.

Limbs and logs are floating all over the place, but what's hiding just beneath the water is most concerning to Lead Ranger Dennis Covey - things like entire trees, picnic tables, grills and fences.

“It changes the whole face of the lake as far as boating goes, because even someone that might know the lake fairly well, at these elevations could possibly run into obstacles that they don't remember being there,” he said.

On land, lawn care workers cut the grass at Lady Bird Landing with a weed eater, because the ground was still too saturated to mow.

But most of the campsites are open, and Willie Newman said the weather isn't going to get in the way of his family's annual reunion.

5/21/2015 Related Story: High Water Closes Some Eastern Oklahoma Camping/Boating Locations

“For 50 years the family's been getting together.”

The campsites they had reserved are flooded, so they're trying a new place, which also has its share of swamped spots.

“You can go out there and sit in the swings and fish if you want to,” Newman laughed.

Their Sea-Doos are hooked up on a trailer in the parking lot where they'll stay until it's time to go back home.

Oologah resident, Dan Richardson said, “It's too dangerous for the kids and stuff. I mean, I ain't worried about the Sea-Doos, but the kids could get hurt out there, so we're just not gonna put them in.

Those who are willing to take the risk out on the water, like Kline, said they don't mind that it won't be the typical Memorial Day weekend.

“I think all week we've only seen two other boats on the lake,” he said.

High water is also impacting campsites and boat ramps at several other Oklahoma lakes and parks. You can find more information at the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers' website, or at Travel Oklahoma.

As far as Lake Eufaula, here's a list of campsites and closures:

  • Oak Ridge – 25 percent of campsites are available.
  • Elm Point – Completely closed with gates shut.
  • Gentry Creek – Completely closed with gates shut.
  • Brooken Cove – Completely closed with gates shut.
  • Porum Landing – 50 percent of campsites open.
  • Ladybird Landing – 50 percent of campsites open.
  • Highway 9 East – Completely closed.
  • Highway 9 South – Completely closed with gates shut.
  • Highway 9 North – 50 percent of campsites open.
  • Belle Starr – 50 percent of campsites open.