Holiday draws tourists to waterways
Despite last week's forecasts that southwest Missouri would experience a rainy Labor Day weekend, most of the area was blessed with sunshine and clear skies during the three-day holiday.
"The weekend turned out very nice," said Gene Stimble, Campbell Point Marina owner. "Lake traffic was somewhat sporadic due to the weather. It was very busy when it was sunny and quiet when it was raining."
Showers fell over the Shell Knob area for a few hours on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, but for the most part skies, were sunny during the Labor Day weekend, said Stimble.
"Last year, we were very busy after the flooding that occurred early in the season," said Stimble. "People who were not able to get out during the first part of the season came down later to enjoy the lake. Although we weren't as busy as last year, we were busier than we have been on Labor Day weekends in the far past."
Campers filled the campgrounds around the Campbell Point Marina for almost the entire weekend.
"There were a few cancellations early in the weekend, but other people came in to fill those spots," said Stimble. "People were very courteous. You could tell everybody was just out to have a lot of fun."
Campgrounds around the Eagle Rock Marina were also used by many campers this weekend. All of the electric sites were full during the holiday, and the majority of the tent sites were used by outdoor enthusiasts.
Although many people used the campground and marina, Eagle Rock Marina owner Darrell Tilford described the weekend as "average."
"Sunday was an outstanding day for boat traffic and everything else," said Tilford. "I think part of the deterrent early in the weekend was that during the week prior to Labor Day everyone was predicting rain, rain, rain for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"I think we were also impacted by the fact that this was the latest Labor Day that we could have," said Tilford. "Last year was outstanding because it fell so early in the month, but overall I would not say this year was a failure by any means."
Even though meteorologists had predicted a rainy weekend, the Eagle Rock area only experienced one shower on Saturday evening.
"This was one of the better years we've had with everyone being very courteous on the water," said Tilford. "We didn't encounter a single problem on our end of the lake. There were more families out this weekend. It went very well."
Campers also packed Roaring River State Park for the Labor Day weekend. According to Superintendent Dusty Reid, all of the first-come-first-served electric sites were full by Sept. 2 and the first-come-first-served basic sites filled up on Sept. 4.
"The threat of bad weather probably kept some people away at the beginning of the weekend, but as the forecast changed, our sites filled up again," said Reid. "It was a very quiet weekend with lots of families and family groups out enjoying the park. Everyone behaved and had lots of fun."
The park store sold over 2,900 trout tags during the Labor Day weekend. Tag sales were as follows: 316 on Friday; 838 on Saturday; 1,010 on Sunday; and 809 on Monday.
"Our tag sales were down a little compared to past years," said Jerry Dean, hatchery manager. "We were down around 304 from last year and 164 from the sales that were recorded in 2007.
"It was a good weekend though," said Dean. "We had a lot of people come to the hatchery to feed the fish, and we didn't have any law enforcement issues. It turned out very well."