Water’s up: Lake ready for busy year

May, 2016 Posted in Business

By Mary Owen

Detroit Lake is swimming with water!

“The lake levels for this year are expected to be full pool,” said Dean O’Donnell, with Detroit Lake Recreational Area Business Association. “After experiencing drought conditions last year, businesses in Detroit are bracing for a record year.”

O’Donnell said businesses have already noticed a lot of people in town.

“The marina operators are commenting that they are getting new customers that have never been to Detroit Lake,” O’Donnell said.

DLRABA has a full slate of events planned:

May 13-15: Detroit Lake Fishing Derby

July 9-10: Wake Board Amateur Competition

July 2: Fireworks over the Lake

Aug. 6-7: Detroit Lake Water Ski Show

Sept. 17: The Cruz-in at the Lake

Sept. 17-18: 2nd Killer Fang Ride

Oct. 8: Detroit Lake Mud Run

A shoreline and riverside cleanup is slated for a yet-to-be-determined September date, O’Donnell said.

“Higher lake levels this coming summer will make for a very successful summer of recreation for everyone,” said Grady McMahan, district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service’s Detroit Ranger District. “The reservoir is already reaching full and the projections I have heard are good.”

According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the Pietty Island channel markers have been placed already at Detroit Lake. These navigational aids assist boaters in making way through the channel using the deepest and most hazard-free area.

Detroit Lake State Park Manager Robert Rea said with reduced lake levels, Detroit Lake State Park attendance dropped last year. Campground occupancy April 1- Sept. 30, 2015 was estimated at 25,350 overnight campers. Mongold Day Use Area saw an estimated 79,920 day use visitors. This is compared to 36,668 overnight and 90,052 day use visitors for the same period in 2014. 

“We will be so pleased to see our visitors return to experience the joy and adventure of being on Detroit Lake,” Rea said. “We have made many improvements to the park. We have developed additional ADA camping spaces and accessible bathrooms throughout the park.

“We will also be offering introductory classes for folks wanting to learn how to kayak or stand-up paddleboard in our instructor-led classes,” he added.

The Let’s Go Kayaking and Let’s Go Stand-Up Paddleboarding classes are great opportunities to explore new ways to recreate on the lake, Rea said.

“We provide the gear and the instruction,” he said. “Just add water! We anticipate a wonderfully busy summer!”

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