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Reservoir reopens cove to primitive camping

‘Primitive’ camping now available at reservoir in time for Labor Day weekend

Staff writer

Lake enthusiasts can once again camp at Marion Reservoir, though only in a restricted manner, said assistant lake manager Kevin McCoy.

“I would stress that it’s primitive,” he said. “We even put that on our voice message because we had lots of people calling to ask.”

Marion Cove is getting a steady trickle of boaters as it is still the only open boat ramp, but the interest in camping is limited to a few die-hards, McCoy said.

“It services people who enjoy having no power or water,” he said. “It really is primitive camping. I think we’ve had one person there over the week it’s been open.”

“At least it’s a sign we’re gaining on things,” he said. “My staff, contractors, and volunteers are working pretty hard in the hopes of getting Hillsboro Cove and French Creek open.”

Blue-green algae and poor weather have greatly limited the number of reservoir visitors during holiday weekends in 2019, McCoy said.

“July 4, Memorial Day, and Labor Day are the big weekends,” he said. “In normal years those weekends see a lot of use. It can get busy, and those are the times, in normal years, we stand a chance of filling the campground.”

Reservoir employees and volunteers have been working to reopen two more sites for the holiday weekend, but there are no guarantees, McCoy said.

The reservoir exited the state’s algae watch list last week, but blue-green algae continues to stifle tourism and fishing at Marion County Lake, Isaac Hett said.

“Since we’ve been under the blue-green algae warning there’s been a noticeable difference in the number of people out here every weekend,” the Marion County Lake manager said. “It’s probably going to be the same thing for Labor Day.”

There is hope for a powder solution being tested to combat algae at the lake, but test results won’t be available in time for Labor Day, Hett said.

“We haven’t seen anything yet,” he said. “It might be a little while.”

Last modified Aug. 29, 2019

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