Henderson, N.C. — Kerr Lake State Recreation Area staffers battled flood waters and budget cuts this week, but campers say they aren't letting that get in the way of a good time.
Last weekend's storms dumped heavy rain a week before the Easter weekend that marks the start of camping season at the Vance County lake. Lake levels are about 7 feet higher than normal.
Seventy-five of several hundred campsites were flooded Friday. In some spots, picnic tables were underwater.
"The way the flood is, man, we could definitely fish from our picnic table," camper David Hall said.
Three of the main roads around the lake were also shut down. Some campers, though, didn't heed the signs and braved driving through the flood waters.
"They had the roadblock moved up to the side, so I figured they left it up to the individual," driver Mark Lowry said. "It didn't look too deep."
Superintendent Lee Amos said that this year's flooding has kept Kerr Lake workers especially busy because the park isn't fully staffed. The maintenance budget is about $60,000 less than two years ago, so the park could only hire half the number of seasonal workers that it normally does.
Forty-five seasonal workers, instead of 90, are trying to clean up and do repairs after two big floods in the past two months, Amos said.
"The flooding that was there originally is still there, and we haven't had an opportunity to clean up from the last flood," he said.
Campers, though, said they won't let those problems put a damper on their weekend.
Cody Gardner said all he needs for a fun time at the lake is his guitar and the company of his friends.
"I call it chill mode. (I'm) here in chill mode," Gardner said.