AFTER A PANDEMIC SPRING ROBS KERR LAKE CAMPERS, NOW AVOIDABLE HIGH WATER WILL CLAIM MEMORIAL DAY & WEEK FOR MANY
“We have no idea why NC State Parks are closing many of the sites before they hardly open this weekend and next week at the seven state recreation areas on Kerr Lake,” said Kerr Lake Park Watch’s Frank Timberlake. “And we have no idea why the US Army Corps of Engineers hasn’t started releasing more Kerr Lake water sooner. They both operate in a quiet vacuum not telling us anything. Our phones started ringing off the hook faster than the angry emails came in today, all asking why the NC State Recreation Areas are closing with the water level just over 301 feet. Very few campsites are lost until 304 feet, and if the Corps stepped up water releases, most of this could be averted,” added Timberlake.
The sad truth, the cancellations could have been lessened greatly, if not eliminated, with some planning and proactive management.
The Kerr Lake level as of 6 PM today was 301.77 feet above mean sea level. As this rain was anticipated, the US Army Corps of Engineers should have already increased water releases at Kerr. If for no other reason, campers have been denied access to Kerr Lake all spring long. There are procedures for dealing with fast rising waters, mainly QRR or Quasi-Run-of-River.
Kerr Lake Park Watch started receiving phone calls and emails this afternoon from campers with reservations on the NC side, saying their camping for this weekend and next week have been canceled.
With some planning and coordination, and not being so focused on hydroelectric power generation, this recreational travesty could still be averted.
Showing specifics Timberlake referred to the hourly measurements of Kerr Lake’s level by the Corps. “If you look at the Kerr Lake level chart from the Corps, the third column from the left shows the water coming into Kerr Lake in the last 24 hours. The next column or the fourth column from the left shows the water let out of Kerr. Knowing that this weather event was coming, you can see that there are times in the last 24 hours that practically no water was released; that with Memorial Day and the holiday coming.”
Having been denied access to most of the lake’s campgrounds for the entire spring season, some no doubt will want to complain and if you do, here is some contact info for you:
The director of NC State Parks is Dwayne Patterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 919-807-7278.
The civilian manager of the John H Kerr Dam & Reservoir is Michael Womack at (434) 738-6143.
The Colonel’s USACE contact info is 910-251-4625 or 4626/ SAW-PublicAffairs@usace.army.mil
HERE IS A LIST OF CLOSED CAMPSITES.
Kerr Lake is beginning to feel the effect of the heavy rain that has been falling in the river basin and will continue to fall through Friday, 5/22. Kerr Lake is rising quickly and will continue to rise through early next week. All Kerr Lake areas operated by the NC Division of Parks and Recreation have campsites that are impacted. Reservation holders on closed sites are being notified by the reservation company and will get a full refund.
The campsites below are closed due to flooding. Sites may be added to this list as conditions require.
All campsites closed due to road going under water
Close All due to road under water
Last updated on: Wednesday, May 20, 2020
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