Darren Brown, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Lake Stanley Draper has been closed to boaters for about two years. The boat ramp is long deserted, but surprisingly, its marina is still open.
Jeff Speir stopped by the marina Thursday to check on the lake's status. He lives in the area and can't wait to start fishing again at the lake he calls "his backyard."
"I've been fishing for as long as I can remember with my dad," said Speir. "And we've been coming to Draper."
The lake level has been low for so long because the city had to repair a pipeline which brings water into the lake about two years ago. With the demands placed on the lake, the water level has not yet recovered.
The lake's low level has not only shut down boating altogether, but it's made regular fishing a challenge.
"I can't really do much fishing out there when there's no water," Speir said. "It just takes so much time trying to get everything down to the water that it's useless."
One bright spot at the lake though, is that the marina is open. Actually it never closed, even though customers on any given day can be counted on one hand.
An open marina with no boaters or fishermen to keep it in business might seem odd, but the marina serves an important purpose according to Oklahoma City.
"People can still go out and fish, picnic, camp," said Debbie Ragan. Ragan is spokesperson for Oklahoma City's Utilities Department. "They're there to provide the services they need."
Those services include the sale of permits. Permits are needed to fish, hunt, camp, or go off-roading. All those permits are available at the Draper marina.
"We have an annual agreement, and we maintain someone out there to assist people all year long," Ragan said."
For Speir, who had his eye on a Zebco fishing rod at the marina, the lake's "down time" provided him with some hassle-free shopping.
"It's always been kinda slow in here, but there's usually more people in here than just us two" he said. "That's the way I like it."
According to Ragan, the lake has been importing water from Atoka Lake since April, but the high water usage has seriously hampered efforts to get Draper refilled.