BERLIN TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – In the boating businesses, lake levels are a balancing act. You don’t want them too low, but you also don’t want them too high.
Unfortunately, high water is exactly what marina owners are dealing with this year at West Branch State Park and Lake Milton.
The record-breaking rainfall has cut back on the number of days people were able to get out on the lake early in the season.
Lake Milton is drained slightly every winter, which helps to keep water levels normal but even that lake rose to a high level. At one point, this summer, you couldn’t access the boat ramps at either Milton or West Branch.
The water rose so high it was covering the sidewalks, blocking access to the docks.
“The month of May and June we had so much rain that the lake levels actually rose probably as high as we’ve had since the late 90s, which hurts everything. It hurts boating; it hurts concessions; it hurts everything,” said Rick Tasker, manager at West Branch Marina.
Another problem for boaters with the heavy rainfall is debris in the water. When the water rises over the banks, logs, sticks and leaves get washed into the lake and catch on boat motors and tubes.
Wade Vantreace and Wayne Kyer are boat drivers for Camp Karl, a summer program the utilizes the lake at West Branch State Park. They say navigating the lake this summer can be challenging.
“What we are used to doing is looking at landmarks as we take the kids around. When it is really high you lose your landmarks so you gotta be very careful where you are compared to the shoreline,” Vantreace said.
Tasker said July is their busiest time of year and they are hoping business picks up and the days are dryer.