Heavy rain displaces campsites for holiday

With the skies opening up early and often heading into Memorial Day weekend, the increased water level at Marion Reservoir displaced 30 campers.

An additional 30 reservations were canceled, making for what park ranger Neal Whitaker ?a light? weekend for lake visitors.

?A lot of people chose not to come this weekend, not only because we lacked the usual number of campsites, but a lot of people also chose not to come because of the weather,? he said.

?Boating traffic on the reservoir was also light because of the weather.

One year ago, the water level stood one foot below normal and kept dropping until it reached a low on Dec. 19.

?It dropped as low as 1347.26?nowhere near a record low?but that was the lowest point during the last year,? Whitaker said. ?This lake has been as much as 8 feet low, back in 1992.?

But the new year brought new water to the area.

?We recovered a little bit during the first four months of the year, but on the first of May, the lake was still 22 inches low,? Whitaker said.

This month has put the level back in black, with plenty to spare.

?For the month of May, we have received 11.93 inches for the month,? Whitaker said. ?We received quite a bit of that?5.6 inches?in one event on the 5th and 6th of May that brought us just a little bit shy of 2 feet above the usual conservation pool level,? he added.

Releasing water squared the pool with its design, but nature had other plans.

The area received 4.05 inches of rain the night of Wednesday, May 23, and the elevation rose again.

?We went to nearly 3 feet above conservation pool at 1353.32,? Whitaker said.

?Because of that rainfall on the 23rd, we had to move people from seven Cottonwood Point campsites, 11 campsites in Hillsboro Cove and about a dozen campers from the Marion Cove overflow area.?

In addition to those, park officials counted 20 flooded campsites in Cottonwood Point and 10 more in Hillsboro Cove.

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