While work remains, Reelfoot getting back to normal

While work remains, Reelfoot getting back to normal

Posted: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 8:17 am
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter

While work remains, Reelfoot getting back to normal | While work remains, Reelfoot getting back to normal

Park Ranger Daniel Burgess checked out the damage from a fallen limb across a section of the boardwalk behind the Reelfoot Lake Visitors Center.

By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Reelfoot Lake has undergone a significant transition during the past month.
The lake has transformed from what was a dried up cypress tree swamp to a lake with water levels that are at historically high levels.
Nowhere is the transformation more noticeable than at the Spillway Bridge.
It was just over a month ago that the back side of the bridge was nothing more than a dried up swamp with no water flowing underneath the bridge. Now, however, the water level nearly reaches the underside of the bridge.
The state park’s campground area remains closed. Remnants of the flooding and fallen trees still cover the west side of the area.
On Monday afternoon, residents along the south shore of the lake were still burning piles of debris and gathering up limbs from their yards.
But along with all the clean-up work, there were also signs of life at Reelfoot Lake this past holiday weekend.
Steady crowds of tourists filtered through Reelfoot Lake Visitors Center throughout the weekend.
Visitors checked out the reptiles inside the visitors center. Birds of prey have been returned to their cages behind the center.
A total of 18 people loaded up for morning canoe trips on the lake. Pontoon boat rides were packed during the weekend.
There were picnics at the lake, jet skis on the water in the washout area and fishing boats once again were out in good numbers during the Memorial Day weekend.
Life is slowly returning to normal at Reelfoot Lake.
There is still a considerable amount of work to be done, but there is a noticeable sense of enthusiasm among members of the state park staff.
Out on the waters of Reelfoot Lake there are no more visible stumps dotting the surface of the lake. The water level has covered the stumps and many parts of the lake that had been inaccessible are now navigable by boat.
Reelfoot Lake is coming back to life, and that is definitely good news for organizers of the upcoming Reelfoot Lake Bicentennial. In fact, last week a television crew visited the lake from London to tour the lake for a planned documentary on Reelfoot Lake’s 200th anniversary.
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Staff reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.

Published in The Messenger 5.31.11

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