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Falls Lake ready for holiday weekend

After toughing it out through dry times, boaters are glad that Falls Lake finally has more water than land – just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Boaters and campers expressed enthusiasm that Falls Lake finally has more water than land – just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
“I’ve always liked nature, and it’s just really pretty out there,” camper Sarah Gibbons said Friday.

In the early spring after nearly a year of drought, parts of the lake looked more like a mud flat.

The sight dredged up memories from the end of last summer, when low lake levels forced boaters to keep an extra eye out for underwater obstacles and closed some boating ramps.

“We were so worried last year. At the end of the year, it looked like it would be a rough year,” boater John Litton said.

Camper Frank Bourner said he toughed out through dry times at the lake. "I fished it when it was low," Bourner said.

Spring rains, though, brought Falls Lake back up to full on April 7 for the first time in 11 months.

And campers crawled over the lake shores on Friday, looking to score a site with a prime view and get an early start on other recreation-seekers bound for Falls Lake this Memorial Day weekend.

"After about three hours of setting up, and I got to rest, it's going to be great," Bourner said.

State Wildlife Division Officer Brent Ward said he and other officers will patrol the lake this weekend, checking for boat registrations and safety equipment.

Boats should be equipped with:

  • personal flotation devices (PFD)
  • a fire extinguisher
  • a type 4 throw cushion (on boats 16 feet or larger)
  • registration papers

Officials say children under 13 must wear a PFD at all times.

"If they wait to check this out and think, 'I put that in last year,' and it's not in the boat when they get to the lake, they're not going to go home to get it," Ward said. "And that's when they encounter me, and it makes for an unpleasant day."

Wildlife officers planned to conduct courtesy safety inspections Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon at the boat ramp off Six Forks Road.



Ken Smith, Reporter
Greg Hutchinson, Photographer
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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