Local News

Kerr Lake, Local Campgrounds Back In Business On Holiday Weekend

Posted September 2, 2003 6:25 a.m. EDT

— Thousands of people will pack area lakes this weekend. Campgrounds hope to cash in on the hot weather after most saw profits go down the drain during the last holiday because of flooding.

Most of Kerr Lake's tourist spots were underwater July 4. But the lake was looking nice Friday.

Water did not go down until the beginning of August. Now, with the Labor Day weekend here, park officials and nearby businesses hope to end the season on a good note.

"It has been very slow," said Marvin Reese, manager of a store near the lake. "It has picked up some in the last couple of weeks, but it has been a hard summer."

Said Kerr Lake Superintendent David Coburn: "We lost about 300,000 people who would have been visiting the park."

The high water turned the people away, flooding out picnic areas, boat ramps and campgrounds. The park lost $170,000 from campers alone, not to mention the cost of cleaning up the mess caused by the flood.

"The debris removal, bobcat equipment, tractors, backhoes, dump trucks, what we needed to get it looking like it looks today," Coburn said.

Don Whitesell of Elon has spent more time than usual puttering around the house this summer because of the flooding. He has been itching to join family and friends for traditional weekends at Kerr Lake.

"This weekend is only the third time we've been up this year," Whitesell said Friday.

The park had to cancel July 4 activities. So with the water down and the place cleaned up, Labor Day and Independence Day will be rolled into one big weekend.

It will be a weekend complete with fireworks, a boat parade and a live band performing Saturday night.

Though it has been a tough summer, "it is looking up now," Reese said.