Weather impacts Labor Day weekend

Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Car wash for a cause Democrat Photo/Lindsay Reed Exeter High School FFA members held a car wash at the Exeter Fire Station to raise funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) this weekend. On Saturday, Exeter Fire Protection District firefighters also held a boot block near the station to raise funds for MDA.

With a rainy start and a warm ending, Labor Day weekend weather made only a slight impact on recreational activity.

"We had a nice weekend," said Gene Stimble, owner of Campbell Point Marina near Shell Knob. "The rain was welcome, and we had a good Sunday and Monday."

Although it rained all day Friday and part of the day Saturday, Stimble said the weather was a welcome relief.

"Attendance may have been down a bit because of the rain on Friday and Saturday, but it was a normal holiday weekend for the rest of the holiday."

"We did fine," said Darrell Tilford, owner of Eagle Rock Marina. "Attendance wasn't as strong as other years. Friday and Saturday people were undecided about coming. We may have been down by 10 or 15 percent."

Tilford also credited the slight drop in attendance to people getting their kids ready to head back to school on Tuesday.

"On Monday, when people were all played out, they started leaving and most of the out-of-towners were gone by about 1 p.m.," Tilford said. "Sunday, however, we were very busy."

Tilford said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be shutting down campsites early this year on Sept. 15.

"That is really going to impact my business," Tilford said. "I will stay open through Halloween for day-trippers and if a boater is out on the lake and running low on fuel."

Roaring River State Park was filled to capacity all weekend, even though some campers called to change their registration dates due to the weather.

"We had people coming in on Friday who changed their arrival times to Saturday," said Dusty Reid, park superintendent. "But the first-come, first-served campsites were filled immediately, so we really didn't see much of an impact because of the weather."

Reid said one benefit of the rain was the park was able to lift the burn ban.

"People were happy to be able to build their campfires," Reid said. "There were no incidents this year. It was a really good weekend."

Reid said attendance at the park this year was comparable to past years, and that Sunday even saw a slight increase. He said all campsites, cabins and motel rooms were booked throughout the holiday weekend.

While campsites may have been full, tag sales were down from last year. On Saturday, a total of 612 trout tags were sold, followed by 804 on Sunday and 660 on Monday for a total of 2,076. Last year, a total of 3,059 trout tags were purchased.

"Friday was slow because of the storm, but we were pretty busy for the rest of the weekend," said Nikie Flynn, tags and license clerk.

Despite the rain, it was a good weekend for fishermen.

"We stocked about 4,500 fish," said Brad Farwell, assistant hatchery manager at Roaring River State Park. "Our Saturday morning numbers were down because of the early morning rain, but overall, it was a good weekend."

Farwell said the numbers reflected about a 30 percent decrease from last year.

"But fish get smart really quickly," Farwell said. "They learn to recognize what a lure looks like. You can change colors and the same fish you were trying to catch an hour ago start hitting your hook."

Farwell said the season's catch-and-release season gets underway Nov. 9 and continues through Feb. 11, 2013. Hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday during the season.

"We hope to see recreational activities continue through the fall," said Tilford. "It's a great time to visit the lake."

The highs are expected to range in the low 70s to the upper 90s for the next few weeks.

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