NPS sets boat removal date

Published online: Dec 20, 2010 News Kevin Welch -
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Things are changing at Lake Meredith.

"When people see it when it's a mud puddle, they'll ask, 'How'd this happen?'" said Tom Campbell, an Amarillo businessman who owns a houseboat on the lake.

"It's a sad ending to a glorious run."

Meredith is not there yet, but it is at 0.48 percent of its capacity, according to the Texas Water Development Board.

The water level was 38.72 feet on Friday, and the Canadian River Municipal Water Authority estimates it can pump that down to 25 or 30 feet before water quality and logistics force it to stop.

A park official holds out hope it won't become a puddle.

"We saw the lake rise 8 feet in three months in 2008," said Cindy Ott-Jones, superintendent of the Lake Meredith National Recreation Area and Alibates National Monument.

CRMWA built Meredith in 1965 to supply member cities with water.

From the start, it was a source of recreation, eventually becoming a national recreation area. But it remains first a source of municipal water.

Campbell received a letter Thursday from Forever Resorts, the concessionaire that runs Marina at Lake Meredith, informing him the National Park Service is ending marina services and has set a Jan. 15 deadline to have his boats out.

Campbell and his wife, Kim, say they can't move their houseboat hundreds of miles away to Lake Texhoma until spring because the ship has been decommissioned for the winter.

They are concerned about other aspects of the closing as well.

"Moving it is an expense, but the people with Forever Resorts won't have jobs, and the wildlife people feed at the marina, who's going to take care of them?" Kim Campbell said.

"What happens to the habitat they created? Ducks, geese, carp, fox, beavers, cranes - they're not really wild anymore. Nobody told us we couldn't feed them for years."

Forever Resorts owns the marina that has been in place 17 years and will have to remove it from the lake.

Now the National Park Service is looking to future projects to add to the recreation area.

"Potentially, when we want to go back out with water-based services we'd do it on a smaller scale," said Ott-Jones.


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