Mild temperatures, lush green park areas and relatively dry weather attracted droves of campers, hikers, boaters, swimmers and other visitors to Clinton and Perry lakes during a quiet Labor Day weekend.
Officials at both lakes said the number of lakegoers was higher than average and up from last year, which was expected since rain fell steadily throughout the three-day weekend in 1991.
"This year the weather cooperated a little better than it did last year," said Dave Rhoades, park manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Clinton Lake. "If we have a lot of rain on Labor Day weekend, that cuts down on the number of visitors. We had a real good weekend. We had several campgrounds that were filled up."
He said the lake saw a higher than average number of day users as well, as nature lovers flocked to the lake to enjoy the wildlife and green vegetation, a result of plentiful summer rain.
"AS FAR AS visitation goes, I'd say it increased this year by 10 to 20 percent," Rhoades said.
The only accident of the weekend occured when a boat hit a submerged tree stump or log, and water swamped the boat, but there were no injuries, he said.
Frank Funk, project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Perry Lake, said storms moved across the lake area Saturday, but "Sunday and Monday were excellent boating days." Rainfall on the resevoir raised the lake level about 1 feet, he said.
Funk said the lake had 55,183 visitors over the three-day weekend, up slightly from last year, when visitors numbered right at 55,000.
He said campsites with electrical hookups filled quickly, and, overall, the campgrounds were about 80 percent full.
"I think for a Labor Day weekend, we were just a little above average," he said. "For this time of year, we're greener than usual. I think that helps draw out the campers."
ON SATURDAY, visitors to the Perry Marina or the Rock Creek Marina were treated to fireworks shows. The fireworks were left over from the Fourth of July, when stormy weather prevented the shows, Funk said. Strong winds almost forced the fireworks to go back into storage, but officials at the two marinas kept their promise to visitors and filled the sky with exploding color.
Dennis Archer, park manager, said rangers encountered no problems with visitors during the weekend. Alcohol consumption and the resulting revelry has decreased significantly this summer, something he attributed to the 4-month-old ban on alcohol in the beach and picnic areas and to the lack of scorching hot summer days.
Now that visitors are learning of the prohibition, the presence of alcohol is less prevalent in picnic areas and at the beach, located near the east end of the dam in a cove between the project office and the Perry Marina, Archer said.
"Cool weather keeps alcohol consumption down too," he said.