Sunday, September 2, 2012
As the water lapped up against the shore of El Dorado Lake Sunday, Wichita's Adam Taylor got ready to enjoy a ride in the lap of luxury.
"You gotta live life," Taylor said.
Taylor bought a boat from Muskogee, Okla. back in July for his family to enjoy. When Labor Day weekend rolled around, he knew exactly where he wanted to take it.
"I chose El Dorado," Taylor said. "All of my friends are out here and Cheney Lake is too shallow. This place is perfect."
Taylor is one of nearly 60,000 people expected to drift into El Dorado Lake this holiday weekend.
"That's a good weekend," Assistant Park Manager Randy Just said.
It's a good weekend that goes with an already good year. Unlike other area lakes affected by the drought, El Dorado is just 2'4'' low, Just said. All boat ramps are open. There also hasn't been a major blue-green algae scare like the state parks saw last year.
That's all helped visitation numbers to surge 70,000 people over 2011's numbers. With budget cuts already in place, and more looming for 2013, park managers say each visitor will help.
"When you have high gas prices, people aren't going to go to the Oklahoma lakes and the Missouri Lakes. People are going to stay closer to home. So, I think that has something to do with it, too," Just said.
Even with the increased number of people at the lake, Just says there hasn't been an increase in serious problems over the weekend.
"We've of course had some alcohol-related incidents. We've had a couple BUI's and DUI's but comparatively I think it's been a pretty safe weekend," Just said.
That means it's been smooth sailing for people such as Adam Taylor.
"Unless you get out by the dam, it's pretty choppy, but otherwise it's a good run," Taylor said.