Return to the River

By: Gary Smollen Email
By: Gary Smollen Email

After more than a year spent in dry dock Heartland boaters are expected to flood the Missouri River with watercraft.

But there could be a problem; access to the river is severely limited and some are staying away altogether. Officials say we should plan ahead and be patient.

For many people it has been a year or more since they've been able to enjoy their boat in the Metro area. Memorial Day weekend has always been the unofficial start of the summer and hundreds are expected to tow their boats to the river.

The question is: will they be willing to wait for the back up at the boat ramp?

Tex Courtney loves two things: cooking bar-b-que and boating but he won't be doing either this weekend because he expect there to be too many people out on the water.

Tex plans to put in a few days later.

Tex Courtney says, "That would be the thing to do. I like going in the middle of the week instead of the weekends because there are not as many people out at that time."

The problem is there will be so few places to put into the river. Haworth Park is still closed, other ramps silted in. That leaves two spots in the immediate metro area where boats can be put into the Missouri, Lake Manawa and NP Dodge Park.

Officials hope everyone is mindful of those behind them in line.

Greg Wagner says, "If there ever was a time to plan ahead and make sure everything is ready to go before you get to the ramp site it is now. Make sure you have all of your required equipment; your life jackets and everything else."

If there is one person who understands the yearning to get back out on the water it's Tex. He lives across the street from the water at Lake Manawa but rarely got out on the water.

Tex Courtney says, "Not a lot of people were able to get out last year because of the flooding. We had a no wake on the lake and this year I've already seen an increase in boat activity so it is going to be wild this weekend."

That's why Tex is staying dry at least for the next few days.

If you are headed to the river over the weekend officials also want to warn you that you are not returning to the same river you left.

The flood caused some major changes to the sandbars and other features of the river so take it slow and be careful.

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