PIEDMONT, Mo. – Clearwater Lake is open for business as visitors from the region plan for a fun Memorial Day holiday weekend at the lake.
All parks are open but each one has been affected by the high lake level and will have some facilities still inaccessible to the visitors. Parks with partial closures are: River Road, Bluff View, Piedmont, Highway K, and Webb Creek.
Even though the lake is open, Army Corps of Engineers officials caution visitors that high lake levels have made boating and swimming more hazardous on Clearwater Lake. Officials advise swimmers, boaters and anglers to prepare for these conditions.
Boat launch ramps and parking facilities on the lake are inaccessible because of the high lake level. Launching on the lake this weekend will be from roadways and parking will be severely limited.
When you are on a lake, no matter how high the water, be sure to wear a life jacket. You should also remember to use the boat’s kill switch and slow down to watch for submerged debris.
Use caution when launching during high water because there may be obstacles hidden under the lake’s surface. Be patient if others take a little longer than normal to launch. When boating near the shore or in coves, go slow to avoid underwater obstacles such as signposts, picnic tables, trees, stumps and other obstructions that are normally on dry ground.
Clearwater Lake park rangers urge everyone to obey boating laws, for your safety. The rangers point out that more than half of all people who drown consume alcohol before their accident, so skip alcohol if you plan to be in or on the water.
Rangers offer the following additional boating and swimming tips:
* Wear a life jacket.
* Check your tow vehicle, trailer and boat are in working condition.
* Check all safety equipment.
* File a float plan with a friend.
* Check the weather before launching.
* Don’t swim for a boat that is drifting away; get another boater to retrieve it.
* Take a safe boating course.
* Post a sharp lookout and add even more care at night.
* Your best defense is to learn to swim.
* When in doubt, wear a life jacket.
* Never swim alone.
* Never rely on toys like inner tubes or water wings.
* Never dive into lakes from cliffs or ledges.
* Lakes are big; don’t overestimate your swimming skills.
* Swim only in designated areas.
* Watch your children -- have a “Designated Child Watcher.”
For more information about water safety, visit the Little Rock District Website at www.swl.usace.army.mil or check out the district’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/littlerockusace.