Cheney State Park preparing for Memorial Day weekend

Cheney Reservoir Drought

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CHENEY, Kansas– Cheney State Park officials are preparing their state park, gearing up for one of their busiest time of year– Memorial Day weekend.

But even with the recent rains, turnout is expected to drop this year and low water levels could be to blame.

It’s been a rather quiet couple of weeks at Cheney Lake.

“We’ve always been really really busy,” said Caroline Savage, resident. “But here lately it’s been kind of slow.”

Caroline Savage hopes that many families will either want to be at the lake or on the water this Memorial Day weekend.

That water level is now 6 1/2 foot low because of the drought.

“If Wichita keeps pumping up our water we ain’t even going to have any water,” said Savage. “I mean I know people need water, but they got to figure out something different. Somebody does.”

Because of the low water levels at Cheney Lake in recent years, you can’t even use specific boat ramps anymore because the water is so shallow.

“We do have some shallow areas that people need to be careful when boating around,” said Ryan Stucky, Regional Supervisor for Cheney State Park. “But there’s a lot of open water. There’s still around 17,000 acres of water our here so a lot of water.”

Crews have been busy preparing the state park for Memorial Day, but believe that the turnout could be as low as the water levels.

“We had about half the visitation that we did in the previous years,” said Stucky. “It’s showing right now that our visitations are going to be even lower this year.”

Stucky believes that when Cheney’s main source of attraction is scarce then it turns away the much needed visitors.

“Most of the people that come out they’re focused on the water,” said Stucky. “They’re boaters, swimmers, fisher mens, and right now with the lake being so low it just kind of discourages them.”

Park leaders say having low levels have given them an opportunity to stabilize the shoreline and it’s something they haven’t been able to do in 20 years.

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