Officials: Risky waters at Grand Lake

Sunday, June 29th 2008, 8:22 pm
By: News 9


GRAND LAKE-- The water at Grand Lake is six feet above its normal level and with the holiday weekend fast approaching, lake patrol officers have a warning. As the Fourth of July is one the busiest weekends for boating at Grand Lake, the water levels so high there's floating debris everywhere.

Derrek Bidleman of the Lake Patrol is already gearing up for the holiday weekend. The risk for disaster is as high as its been in years.

"You're going to have different debris that floats off the shoreline," said Bidleman.

Grand River Dam Authority officials say with all the rain this spring, the water level is a big problem.

"The lake is about six feet above normal, right now," said Justin Alberty of the GRDA.

The water will still be four feet above normal next weekend and there's a lot of stuff lurking beneath the surface.

"The whole topography of the shoreline changes some. Things along the shoreline that were typically above water, picnic tables, concrete picnic tables, trash cans, things like that, may now be under the water," said Alberty.

"Like that. It looks like a tree, almost like a used telephone poll. That could do a lot of damage to your prop, to your under unit. Could possibly even knock a hole in a smaller boat," said Bidleman.

Bidleman has worked five 4th of July's. He says even with the fireworks going off overhead. Every year there's always damage down below.

"One of the big things is just slowing down, and paying attention to what's going on around you," said Bidleman.

He says just keep your eyes open and your hands on the wheel. And you'll be able to celebrate our Independence with your head above water.

The Grand River Dam Authority says inexperienced boaters are the biggest risk. More than 2,000 people are expected to hit the lake this holiday weekend.