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On the mend

County lake, reservoir both see decent holiday crowds

Staff writer

Marion County Lake enjoyed more visitors this Labor Day weekend than last as staff at Marion Reservoir opened more campsites and continued efforts to clean up damage left by flooding.

In addition to primitive camping at Marion Cove, some sites at Hillsboro and French Creek Coves, both of which have electrical hookups, have been opened, assistant lake manager Kevin McCoy said.

“It was nice to see people come out,” he said.

He said he didn’t have any firm numbers about the number of guests who took advantage of the newly opened sites this holiday weekend, but said he was happy offer more opportunity to campers after reservoir staff put in much hard work.

“It’s a slow process to get even a handful of (sites) open, even for Hillsboro and French Creek. We’ve been working on them for months,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the county lake nearly all available campsites with electrical and water hookups were taken. A total of nearly 50 campsites were filled, said Isaac Hett, lake manager.

“We had more visitors this weekend than there were last Labor Day, so that’s good,” he said.

Anglers apparently were not put off by Thursday night damage to the lake’s heated fishing dock caused by high winds that buckled its metal walkway and shoved it back to the bank.

The lake remains under blue-green algae warning.

“We saw quite a few fishing and quite a few boaters, both Saturday and Sunday,” he said.

Hett said the lake has seen visitors come and go in “streaks” this season, with some months great and others off.

“June was very good and July was probably a little less,” he said.

“Our August was slow because of the blue-green algae warnings,” he said.

Both lake managers say they have a winter of cleanup ahead of them.

McCoy said Cottonwood Cove, the largest campsite at the reservoir and the most damaged, will be closed the rest of the season.

He said he is hoping to have it up and running this spring.

“It’s going to be close,” he said.

High water left some roads in shambles, shattered concrete tables, uprooted large trees, swamped showers, and left a residue of blue green algae over the mess.

Electric hookups that went under high water will have to replaced.

“That’s a very expensive hit,” he said. “The roads are another one.”

Some good news, he said, is continued interest in visiting the reservoir.

“We know people monitor it every day and check the website to see what is available,” he said. “We may see a little increase as people squeeze in a little camping before winter sets in.”

Last modified Sept. 5, 2019

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