Local News

Popular Swimming Area Closed Because Of Low Water Level

Posted July 2, 2005

— Some of you may be heading out to your local pool or lake this holiday weekend. But what would you do if you showed up and found out that your favorite place to cool off dried up?

That's exactly what happened to hundreds of swimmers in Wayne County.

Park officials closed the Cliffs of the Neuse because the water level was too low for swimmers. On previous Fourth of July weekends, officials said, more than 300 people visited the man-made lake each day.

"It was a shocker when we got here the first time, and they said there was no water to cool off in," said Anthony Tyson, who came out to the Cliffs this weekend to celebrate a birthday.

Park officials said they drained the lake last winter in order to repair a dam and dive tower. They said it's not unusual to lower the water level in the off-season for maintenance, but they didn't anticipate such a dry spring.

Wayne County, officials said, just didn't get enough rain during the spring to fill the lake back up.

"I've been here at the Cliffs for just shy of ten years, and we've never seen it like this," Park Ranger Paula Horstman said. "We've actually been losing water through evaporation and other sources, so the water level has actually gone down. It's actually getting worse."

As a result, officials said, the swimming area at the Cliffs would likely remain closed for the rest of the summer.

"It's tough," Tyson said. "We need some rain."

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