Monday, September 3, 2012
Most years, Kansas lakes are crowded on Labor Day.
This year, because of the drought, those crowds have dried up just like the water at Cheney Lake.
"It is disappointing to see that folks have chosen not to come out but we're still open," said Ryan Stucky, park manager for Cheney State Park.
Stucky said the number of visitors is down about 40%. He attributes the lower visitation to the lower lake levels.
The lake is 5.5 feet lower than usual. Only one out of the 12 boat ramps is usable at the lake.
"We rely on the holiday weekends for the better part of our revenue for the year. When we experience a drought like this, it really hurts our visitation which directly affects our revenue," said Stucky.
Lake officials and visitors said there are upsides to the lower levels.
"What people don't realize is that when the lake drops a little bit, more of the sandy beaches are available," said Stucky.
"The one good thing about this is it's not very crowded so you've got a lot of lake to yourself," said Steve Spencer, visitor from Wichita.
Most visitors said they are hoping the next lake season will be better.
"I'm hoping this winter we get a lot of rain and it fills the lake up, and next year, we can come back and try it again. Hopefully have a good year next year," said Shaun Horsch, visitor from Andale.