Conditions at area lakes are sparkling for the Fourth of July holiday weekend -- at least compared to Memorial Day.
The rain wouldn't stop, the temperature wouldn't rise, and the people wouldn't come. What a holiday.
"We didn't have a Memorial Day this year," said Mark Retonde, co-owner and manager of the Clinton Marina. "I think it got called off."
Retonde and others who make their living off area lakes hope the Fourth of July weekend will erase their nightmarish memories of Memorial Day 1995, when high water, gloomy skies and temperatures in the 60s kept crowds away.
Rosie Perron, co-owner of D.J.'s Rock Creek Marina at Lake Perry, said lake conditions were good heading into the holiday.
"It's considerably better" than pre-Memorial Day, she said. "The water's down. As a matter of fact, it's back to normal."
During Memorial Day weekend, marina operators were forced to take customers to and from the marina by boat. Flooding made docks unusable.
Elsewhere at Perry, 700 of the lake's 1,000 campsites were flooded, and boaters were forced to use makeshift boat ramps.
Frank Funk, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager at Perry Lake, said all boat ramps but one campground -- Old Town, on the lake's north shore -- had been reopened.
"Things are good," Funk said. "It's a new picture."
Funk said employees had worked hard to spiff up the lake in time for rededication and celebration activities scheduled for Monday, the lake's 25th birthday.
State and local political representatives, corps officials and military personnel are scheduled to be on hand for the rededication ceremony, which will take place at noon. A National Guard flyover and catamaran sailing demonstration also are scheduled during the ceremony.
Crafts booths, concession stands and displays will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. A boat parade will depart at 4 p.m. from Lake Perry Yacht and Marina.
Capping the day will be a fireworks display, billed as the state's second-largest, at 9:30 p.m.
Retonde said that although flooding forced the Clinton Marina to cancel its annual fireworks display, the lake was recovering. Marina operators have taken down a temporary bridge they erected during the spring.
"We're back to normal as far as access to the marina," he said. "Right now, I feel like we're going through this process of getting back to normal overall."
Vic Counts, Clinton project manager, said the Bloomington recreational area remained closed because of a flooded parking lot. But other facilities, including most of the park's eight boat ramps and all campsites, were open.
Conditions at other area lakes:
- Melvern is expected to be above its normal pool. Most facilities, including all launch ramps, will be open. Some campsites will be closed at Turkey Point, Arrow Rock, Coeur d'Alene and Eisenhower State Park. Sundance campground and Coeur d'Alene beach will be closed.
- Pomona also will be above normal elevation. Wolf Creek Park and Adam's Grove camping area will be closed, and some campsites may be closed in Michigan Valley and Cedar parks. Some launch ramps will be available at Pomona State Park.
Counts said that if weather forecasts were accurate, lake attendance could rebound from Memorial Day, when the lake welcomed half its typical holiday crowd.
The forecast called for dry, mild conditions today and highs in the 70s today. Sunday's forecast calls for a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms, with highs in the 80s.
Retonde said that although conditions appeared good for this weekend, Independence Day probably wouldn't make up for business lost on Memorial Day. He and Counts said Memorial Day usually was the lake's busiest holiday, followed by Labor Day.
"It's probably one of the nicer holidays because you can keep up with the crowd," Retonde said. "But it's not quite there as far as numbers compared to Memorial Day or Labor Day."