Lake Norfork Open & Ready for Summer

MOUNTAIN HOME, AR (KAIT) -- A very wet spring and high gas prices could spoil summer plans.  With Memorial Day just around the corner, many families in Region 8 are making plans to hit the lake.  It's expected that 10-15,000 people will travel to Baxter County to celebrate the holiday weekend at Lake Norfork.

This time next week, Lake Norfork will be hopping with people ready to start the summer season, but when they get here, they'll notice a few changes. The Mountain Home area has seen 40 inches of rain this spring, putting Lake Norfork at its highest levels in over 100 years and leaving some campgrounds underwater.

"This summer is no different than any other summer we've had," said Chuck Thitoff of Buzzard Roost Boat Dock, "We've just got more water and more lake to play in then we've ever had before, that's the only difference."

Marina owner Kathy Grace has been on the lake for nearly 40 years. She says rumors that the high waters have contaminated the lake are simply not true.

"There's no disease. We've heard all kinds of crazy things, that it's polluted and everything else and it's beautiful," said Grace, "You just have to be careful like you always do."

Even though prices at the pump continue to rise, don't count on it putting boats in dry dock.

"I know everyone is concerned about high gas prices and all that but everybody just has to adjust.  Boater's boat, that's what we do. We just make our sacrifices and keep going on," said Richard Hanson, manager of Quarry Marina.

And traveling the distance is no problem for folks willing to see all 550 miles of Lake Norfork's shorelines.

"The Memphis area is starting to pick up, the St. Louis area too.  I've had a lot of people call from the St. Louis area wanting to know if it's worth coming down. Of course it's worth coming down.  It's just the water is a little bit higher that's all it is," said Buzzard Roost Boat Dock employee Eric Thitoff.

Marina owners remind boaters to practice patience and safety when out next holiday weekend.