Camp Site Closed At Heyburn Lake
Wednesday, May 24th 2006, 5:23 AM CDT
Some northeastern Oklahoma campers are learning reservations at their favorite lakeside campground have been cancelled for Memorial Day weekend.
Sheppard Point on Heyburn Lake is closed now, and could stay that way until the 4th of July.
News on 6 reporter Joshua Brakhage went to the lake to find out why.
It's an out-of-the-way park, that's now off-limits. Sheppard Point is one of 3 campgrounds on Heyburn Lake. Lake director Kent Dunlap says it's a hidden gem which many regulars treasure. It's also invaluable overflow for holiday visitors who fill up the beaches at nearby Keystone Lake. Lake ranger Robin Parks: "It'd be very crowded this weekend."
Parks says reservations still stand at the other two sites at Heyburn, but a lack of running water has shut down Sheppard Point. "And without water, we really can't offer our campers showers, restrooms, or water at their campsite. And most people who come out to the lake want, want that."
Facility maintenance inspector Mike Metcalf: "Well there's no rural water access to this side of the park, so we have to go to the other side to get, to get our water." Metcalf says one of the lake's visitors and our recent weather caused the problem.
Recently, with lake levels down due to the drought, a boater hit the plastic pipe that brings clean water to Sheppard Point. "This is not the first time." In the past, the Army Corps of Engineers has tried attaching weights to the pipe to keep it submerged. They've even eliminated a boat ramp near the pipe.
Nothing's worked, so now the lake plans a major project to put the water line in a steel sleeve to protect it from snapping again. But that project will take time to complete. Robin Parks: "Right now, we're looking at late June. Hopefully it will be open by 4th of July, but we're not 100 percent positive. That's barring no problems."
Options for displaced campers are running dry. Lake managers tell the News on 6, some folks have been at the lake since Monday, saving their spot for the weekend. The best advice the lake can give is just to keep calling to see if any spots open up.