Area Lakes Hope For Memorial Day Turnout

Thursday, May 21st 2009, 5:30 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

WAGONER, OK -- Area camping grounds and marinas hope to stay afloat after another wet spring.

Lake levels are still high, but businesses say they are open for business and ready for Memorial Day.

"We wanted to live on the water," Whitehorn Cove Marina owner Matt Taylor said. "Now we just live closer to the water than we originally planned."

Taylor and his wife own and operate the Whitehorn Cove Marina on Fort Gibson Lake. They bought the place in 2007, right before the streak of rainy springs began.

"We've gotten used to dealing with high water," Taylor said. "We've had high water since we've been here. We don't know how to operate during normal water."

While hampered by the conditions, the marina is up and running, and banking on people staying close to home this holiday.

This will be the third straight year the water will be up for Memorial Day at Fort Gibson, but the owners hope a down economy will lure more people to the lake.

"We're here to stay," Taylor said. "We're not going to let a little water keep us from taking care of our business, and taking care of our folks out here that want to come to the lake and have a good time."

The situation is a little better on the Illinois River, where business owners say the water has finally calmed down.

"The conditions of the river right now are perfect, so we couldn't ask for anything better," said Summer Easthan with Falcon Floats.

Easthan says the Falcon Floats campgrounds are almost booked solid, and believes Memorial Day will help build some of the momentum lost during another rainy spring.

"Everybody's getting full, so it's going to be a really good holiday kickoff for all of us out here," Easthan said.

The Army Corps of Engineers says lake levels are steadily falling, but high water is still a concern.

Keystone Lake is 17 feet above normal, Oologah 14 and Grand about 6 feet.