Boat Ramps Closed at Lake Lahontan - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Boat Ramps Closed at Lake Lahontan

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Just two years ago, the water levels of Lake Lahontan came all the way up to docks. But after back-to-back dry years, the water has dropped 20 feet. In fact, it's so dry out there, boat ramps have been closed since July 1.

Motor boats are few and far between these days.

The only ones on Lake Lahontan are the ones that can launch from the shore.

"Boating is still allowed and available but it's a little sketchy. A lot of sand, a lot of rocks, things like that that are popping up that will surprise people," says park supervisor Tony Beauregard.

The Kendalls come up from Bridgeport every year to ski, wakeboard.

And they say they're aware of the dangers.

"Probably about a foot down on the other side of the lake, the stumps are right there. So, stay away from that side at the edge, stay towards the middle. We just need to be careful," says Shannon Kendall.

The reservoir is usually about half-full at this time of the summer with about 120,000 acre feet of water. But this year, there is only about 75,000.

"We were here a month later, last year. So we're already getting a month less of boating this year. So, it's kind of a drag."

Lake Lahontan was built more than 100 years ago to store irrigation water for Fallon farmers.

And while the farmers are getting less water, it also means the park is bringing in less money.

Boat fees are $20 a day.

"It's cut our boating season in half or so. We lost most of July and August," says Beauregard.

A concrete barricade will be blocking both boat ramps for the rest of the summer -- it's not stopping campers from coming. But some say they are surprised how low the water is with picnic tables hundreds of feet away from the water.

"Water used to be way up there. We used to go right around the corner, here, which was called Beach 5, and the water was way in there. Now, it's hardly in there at all,"says Reno resident Don Kellogg.

Kendall adds, "We've camped up by the trees before and the water level's were that high too. So, it's kind of just you never know what you're gonna get."

Water levels have been this low before but park rangers say that by this fall, it could be a record low. They say the best they can hope for is a wet winter.

Written by Paul Nelson

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