Recreational areas near lakes may not open by July 4th

Recreational areas near lakes may not open by July 4th
Recreational areas near lakes may not open by July 4th
Recreational areas near lakes may not open by July 4th
Recreational areas near lakes may not open by July 4th
Posted at 12:33 AM, Jun 11, 2016
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:14-04

Many of the recreational areas at lakes may remain closed until the 4th of July weekend due to flooding.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers anticipates area lakes to return to normal by August.  

According to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Water Resources Fort Worth Division Jerry Cotter, if there is no significant rainfall, Lake Waco will return to normal elevation by early July. Lake Whitney on the other hand, would return to its normal elevation by August.

The recreational areas around the lake could take up to two weeks after the levels return to normal to reopen.

Temple Lake Park is one of the parks that remains closed at Lake Belton, which is 22 feet above conservation pool. On Friday. several buildings were under water and some of the asphalt roads were covered in water.

On its website, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers includes July 31 as the date the pavilion at that park and other recreational areas will reopen.

"It really depends on the weather. The weather pattern and what's going to happen. We shoot for a date but there is always mother nature that you're going to deal with,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Park Ranger and Natural Resource Ranger at Belton and Stillhouse Lakes Arty Johnson said.

Once the lake returns to normal levels, the park still needs to be prepared for visitors.

"When the water recedes, we have a lot of cleanup to do to make sure the park is safe for the public,” said Johnson.

Once the water recedes, asphalt roads at the park now covered in water need to dry for two weeks. 

Buildings that are now partially or completely under water need to be worked on and money is also needed to cover the costs.

In the meantime, Bell County residents are using some of the recreational areas that are not off limits.

Two out of the 18 boat ramps at Lake Belton remain open. On Friday, several boaters were at the Belton Lakeview Park, which is one of the ramps open..  

Donald Ditty went out on the water with his friends at that location. Some of the activities he did, included wakeboarding and waterskiing.

"It was such a nice weekend this weekend and we really wanted to get in the water,” Ditty said."The tides were high, but the lake was pretty clear. There wasn't a lot of debris floating around."

Cotter asks boaters to be cautious with floating debris.

“As we start to empty the floodwaters, boaters will begin to get back on the lake, there is all kind of debris floating on those lakes. There is also hazards below the water that can be disguised because they’re up high. We just want to ask all the boaters getting out on those lakes wear their flotation devices and be extra cautious,” Cotter said.

Johnson also has some recommendations for boaters. 

“If you were to get out on the lake, I would be careful. I wouldn't be going very fast, I wouldn't be on a tube. I wouldn't be on the skis but it’s really at your own risk,” Johnson said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers anticipates other recreational areas to be open before Labor Day.

News Channel 25 will check again to see if the timeline of the opening change. To check for closures, click here.

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