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Archive for August, 2012

CAMPERS QUESTION KERR LAKE RESERVATION REVENUES & PROCEDURES

Ride through most any Kerr Lake State Recreation Area on the North Carolina side on a Thursday or Friday and you will see some campers packing up to leave.  That might seem unusual except that  the new online reservation system now lets weekend campers “cherry-pick” weekend camping.  So many times, campers wanting to camp have to either accept a site in the woods or take a waterside site for a shorter period, forced to leave before the weekend campers arrive.

The old system required campers making reservations to rent the campsite for a 7-day period. 
Think about it, not a bad proposition to be able to rent yourself 8 or 10 or 12 summer weekend sites on multi-million dollar waterfront property for less than $30 a night.

KLPW has recently received several emails and calls about the policy.  We have taken these questions about revenue and posed them to the Kerr Lake Superintendent for NC State Parks, Bryce Fleming.  We need to provide Fleming with some time to prepare and return answers.

HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS:

From Gerald R. – (1) “Are the reservations system charges the same for “parks” as they are for recreation areas?”

From Mike Sawaya –    (2) “Now that we have been using the computer based reservation system for a couple of years, and been allowed to reserve less than seven days per stay, what has been the impact?  (3) Has the number of campers increased? (4)  Has the net revenue increased?  I know from my personal experience that is more difficult to make week-long reservations with this system.  I also see the parks nearly empty during the week and full on the weekends.  (5) So what does NC Parks say about the change?

From Wanda P. – (6) “Are the reservation system charges the same for “parks” as they are for “recreation areas?”  (7) Why am I charged a transaction fee for every day of my camp time?  Whether we camp for two nights or seven, there is only one transaction and should be only one charge per transaction?”

PLEASE!  When you make reference whether questions or comments,  make your response clear as to which question your comments are about.

KLPW will be waiting right along with all of our readers for the answers.  If you want to know when something is posted, simply sign up below with your email and you will get a notice!  KERR LAKE PARK WATCH…we’re working hard for you!

Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - N C State Recreation Areas, KLPW - Reservation Information

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LAKE USER WOULD LIKE LESS DRAMATIC WATER LEVEL DROPS BY CORPS

This blog post comes from an avid lake user and Veteran, Dennis Harris.  We welcome your comments and posts.  Just send an email to info@kerrlakeparkwatch.org or click on the comment section of this blog.

“Another problem related to the hydrilla is that the Corp (US Army Corps of Engineers) is dropping the lake an average of 6 inches every week. Four weeks ago, docks were above the hydrilla, but now with a 2 foot drop in the water level our boats are in the hydrilla and/or must go through the hydrilla to get to open water.

Kerr Lake is a huge economic engine for the surrounding counties, but when people cannot use their boats due to the hydrilla and due to a the lake level being lowered at such a fast and steady rate, then money is not spent by people using the lake. It also creates hazards for boaters who are not familiar with the lake. Depth finders are not very good in warning boaters about rocks and stumps.

I realize that the Corp has a curve that is used to determine the lake level for the year, but it appears that maybe this should be adjusted during the summer by not dropping the water level 6 inches each week. Maybe a more modest drop of 3 inches per week, based upon rain amounts in the basin.

I, along with a number of other people feel that the constant drop in the lake level has compounded the hydrilla problem and that a slower drop in the water level will help the users of the lake and it will provide a longer boost to the local economy.”

Dennis Harris

Posted in: KLPW - Boating and Related Improvements, KLPW - Hydrilla Information, KLPW - MAIN NEWS

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KLPW TAKES SUPPORT OF HYDRILLA TREATMENT TO PUBLIC THROUGH MEDIA


                                                                                                                 August, 2012   info@kerrlakeparkwatch.org             COPY OF NEWS RELEASE TO MEDIA


HYDRILLA AND WATER QUALITY


Treatment for hydrilla said to be helpful not harmful bringing better news and hopefully some relief for boaters and swimmers.  Corps official provides confirmation about Kerr Lake’s water quality and hydrilla treatments.


A support and improvements group for the park facilities on the shoreline of Kerr Lake is giving praise to NC State Parks officials for taking quick action attacking the invasive and potentially dangerous aquatic weed, Hydrilla.  KERR LAKE PARK WATCH (KLPW) is praising the recent herbicide treatments to shorelines at Kimball Point, Henderson Point, and Hibernia to help stunt the growth of Hydrilla which tangles around boat motors and can potentially entangle a swimmer.


“Kerr Lake State Recreation Area Superintendent Bryce Fleming did excellent work in securing emergency funds from the state and overseeing some critical applications,” said Frank Timberlake, the Public Affairs Lead for KLPW.  “In this case, the good heavily outweighs the potential of any bad, which is yet unknown and therefore does not exist. “


The spraying brought out opposing sides.  Encouraging the treatment, park user Mike Sawaya said, “I hope the State Parks participate in the eradication effort as available to “water front” property owners. This non-native invasive weed is completely changing the lake camping experience.”  Camper, boater and skier Larry Matthews, plagued by heavy growth of Hydrilla in Dobson Creek, was eager to see some help applied to the explosive growth of Hydrilla and voiced his support for Hydrilla treatment.


Conversely, Tom O’Neal wrote to KLPW and stated in part, “Spraying poison into Kerr Lake so little Johnny and little Susie can go swim in it. I surely would not let my kids swim in poisoned water that some government agent said was safe.”


KLPW has received a number of questions from Kerr Lake visitors with regard to the water quality and the use of herbicides in treating the hydrilla problem.  Within the past few days, KLPW also received updated information from Operations Project Manager Michael Womack who oversees Kerr Lake for the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Asked about the water quality of Kerr Lake, Womack commented, “Kerr Lake is safe for swimming. There are no health advisories/warnings issued from the state regarding swimming in Kerr Lake. The Corps tests for Fecal Coliform (E. Coli) at all of our swim beaches. This testing is not a state standard or requirement but rather a Corps policy to ensure the health of our visitors. VADEQ (Virginia) and NCDENR (North Carolina) are responsible for monitoring overall water quality in the reservoir. They sample dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, bacteria, heavy metals in fish tissue, etc. and issue any health advisories accordingly.”


Switching to the Hydrilla treatment process, Womack added, “All chemicals have EPA approved application guidelines and if applied accordingly by a certified applicator they will not pose human or environmental hazards. Once a herbicide is diluted according to label instructions for application into an aquatic environment, herbicides labeled for aquatic use are considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.”  Waterfront home owners can hire an approved applicator but the public areas were left out of any treatments until Superintendent Fleming took action.


KLPW’s Timberlake added, “Womack, the Colonel in charge of the Corp’s Wilmington District and the relative state agencies cannot afford to be wrong about any facet of the water in Kerr Lake.  Therefore, we clearly support Michael’s information and opinion on this matter.  We’re not a ‘yes’ group because we do not agree on every issue, but that’s what building a great forum for consensus is all about, isn’t it? KERR LAKE PARK WATCH would like to see the Corps of Engineers take quicker affirmative action and more responsibility towards eradication and elimination of Hydrilla but that takes time. In the meantime, the water monitoring tests need to continue.   A newly released NCSU study commissioned by the Corps is just getting a handle on where the dreaded water weed exists and in what growth quantities.  We’d still like to see them take more of a lead position.  KLPW appreciates the fortuitous move by KLSRA Superintendent Fleming and hopes that his superiors will support his beginning efforts and that the state will provide continued treatment funds.”


Links to the complete US Army Corps of Engineers Hydrilla survey report conducted by NCSU and more detailed commentary can be found on www.kerrlakeparkwatch.org.



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Names and contacts of public officials with Kerr Lake management responsibilities can be furnished by contacting KLPW at info@kerrlakeparkwatch.org.

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