The Woodward News

May 24, 2013

Area lakes, parks expect large crowds for weekend

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — The recent cloudy and rainy weather in the northwestern part of the state may have some wondering when summer will ever come, but it has done little to dampen the enthusiasm of state park and lake goers this holiday weekend.

Fort Supply Lake officials are expecting 20 to 30 thousand visitors this Memorial Day holiday, said Park Ranger Don Underwood.

"Folks have kind of been ready to get out and start their summer with the weather staying chilly so long," he said.

That must be true since every spot in Fort Supply's Class A Campground has been reserved.

"We have 16 primitive sites, no water, no electricity and a hole in the ground rest room and those are first come first served," Underwood said.

But those accommodations should not phase a fishing enthusiast since the lake is full and the fish are biting, he said.

"Our elevation is above normal because we have not made a release in months and we have had a good flow from Wolf Creek," Underwood said.

Boating enthusiasts should also be at home on the water, no matter what the temp outside this weekend as well. All the boat ramps at Fort Supply Lake are open.

"The boat ramps are not the problem, but what could be a problem is boat operation," he said in a serious tone. "Folks tend to get a false sense of security on this lake because it is usually a shallow lake."

Underwood stressed that boaters monitor their intake of alcohol, and make sure they have properly donned their life vests.

"You know, those things will come off of you depending on how you hit the water," he said.

After the unpopular and contentious decision in January to release water from Canton Lake to replenish Oklahoma City's drinking water supply, the lake officials are upbeat and trying to plan for the first major holiday after the decision to drain the lake.

Regardless, Canton officials said campers are still flocking to the Big Bend, Canadian and Sandy Cove camping locations.

"So hurry and get your camp site booked and join us at Canton Lake this weekend," the statement read.

While boating on Canton Lake will be allowed, boaters are cautioned to be extra aware of their surroundings because of the low levels of water in the lake.

"Hazards such as floating debri, submerged logs and sand bars may now be barely under the water."

Also, lake officials advised boaters that boat ramps will not be available. Boaters may be able to access the lake from the Canadian Day Use Area Ramp.

Not everyone wants to gaze out at the water over the Memorial Day holiday. Some want a little sand in their teeth. For those types, the Beaver Dunes, now operated but the City of Beaver, will be open and ready to help folks with a penchant for high flying and hard landings.

"typically this is usually our busiest holiday of the year said Park Manager, Steve Kemp. "Not too hot yet and not too cold."

Kemp expects anywhere from 200 to 300 off road enthusiasts and for his camp sites to be full.

"We have 20 RV camp sites and 10 tent sites and they are first come first served," Kemp said.

Kemp admonished off-roaders to take safety seriously this year. "You need to have all your proper riding equipment, the rules haven't changed."

Boiling Springs State Park also plans for a larger than normal turnout, said Administrative technician Laura Hammontree.

"All of our cabins are booked, our group camps are booked," she said. Regular camping sites are first come first served.

Unfortunately the Boiling Springs State Park Pool will be closed this year, Hammontree said.

Each year, a private operator applies to run and manage the pool and this year, there has not been one approved. At present there are two organizations that have picked up applications, Hammontree said. "If we get one more to pick up and application, we will open it up for bids again."