Corps Decides to Close Tygart Docks

Low water levels cause for decision

Morgantown Dominion Post
15 July 2012
By Alex Lang

Due to a lack of significant rain this summer, one local marina is closing, leaving boat owners to find a place to park their rides for the summer.

All boats have to be out of the Tygart Lake State Park marina by today because of low water levels. The park is near Grafton. The plan is to have the gas docks out by Thursday, or sooner.

“We just haven’t had the precipitation we normally get,” said Mike Estuck, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake.

Grafton resident Sheldon Findley said he has been docking his boat at the marina for roughly 15 years.

“Everybody is just disappointed,” Findley said.

But, he said, nothing can be done about it. It’s in their contract that if water drops below a certain level, the boats have to be removed. His plan was to bring his boat home and use it for day trips.

The lake is seeing 10 percent to 20 percent less water flow from its tributaries than normal, Estuck said. The current water level is 14 feet below the normal summer height of 1,094 feet. If the trend continues, Estuck said, the level will be down 27 feet on Aug. 9.

The Corps has been releasing water from the dam for a month, but it hasn’t affected the falling water level, Estuck said.

“This is the worst we’ve ever seen,” Estuck said.

There was a massive drought in the area in 1988, Estuck said, but the water level in Tygart Lake didn’t fall to its current levels until August of that year.

According to AccuWeather .com, today’s forecast calls for a few scattered thunderstorms and temperatures in the mid 80s. But, get ready, early next week is expected to be hot as temperatures cross the 90-degree threshold.

While the marina is closing, Estuck said people will still have access to ramps to put their boats in the water. The challenge will be getting gasoline. With the marina closed, the gas pump will also be closed. Estuck said boaters will have to bring extra tanks or have a full one before heading out.