Oklahoma Tourism Drops After Heavy Rains Flood Area Lakes

Wednesday, July 11th 2007, 10:35 am
By: News On 6

High lake levels are taking a toll on Oklahoma's tourism industry. This is usually the busiest time of year for tourists, especially at area lakes, but some are staying home. News On 6 anchor Craig Day reports instead of a steady flow of cash for area businesses, now tourism dollars are only trickling in.

Tourism is our third largest industry in Oklahoma, generating $3 billion a year, but the last month and a half hasn't been good for life on the lake. Despite the high water and rain, lake businesses still hope folks can find time for fun in the sun.

At Fort Gibson Lake there is practically no one on the water, but at the Western Hills Lodge the pool is packed.

Jane Baldwin is in Oklahoma for a wedding and is spending some time with family at the lodge, despite the high lake level.

"We know when you get there you're going to have fun one way or another,” Baldwin said. “We don't get discouraged easily.”

While the high lake levels and rainy weather aren't keeping those vacationers away, it is prompting others to stay home. June and July are usually the busiest months of the year at Western Hills, but this year, the wet weather and terrible conditions are having a big impact.

Usually Western Hills is full. Right now, the lodge is at 70% of capacity.

"We've been here several times before, and there is far less here than what you would normally see here,” Etheridge said.

The lodge has had a number of cancellations because of the high water.

"They basically can't get on the water. There is no place to get your boat into the water,” said lodge manager JW Wright. “You can look out; normally there would be boats everywhere out there."

Instead of boating, Wright says there are plenty of other activities, tennis, horseback riding, and nine holes are still open at the golf course, lots of things to keep people busy, until the water goes down.

For more information about area lake levels, click here.

For more flooding information, check out our STORM ZONE web page.

Watch the video: Recent Rains Taking A Toll On Lake Businesses