Clarks Hill Lake extends boat ramp to help with low water levels

By: Jorge Lopez Email
By: Jorge Lopez Email

Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013

APPLING, Ga. (WRDW) -- They're called "Friends of Mistletoe State Park." They've come up with a way people can still enjoy the lake and get their boat out on the water despite the drought.

"I've got nothing to do with it, but they not going to let it happen," said Cecil Bullard.

Bullard is talking about how the Army Corps of Engineers will never let Clarks Hill lake dry up.

Bullard woke up early Saturday morning to begin work on the boat ramp extension so visitors can have fun on a sunny day. However, he say's the Corps of Engineers worries about the lake for reasons other than fishing and boat rides.

"Recreation is a very low priority for the Corps. It's nothing to do with them, it just the way the lake was designed ... Flood control and keeping the flow in the Savannah River," Bullard said.

And while Bullard's main goal is to keep the lake fun and accessible to everyone, he knows the lake's main job is to continue generating power.

The small group of volunteers first waited for the cement truck to arrive, then waited on the cement to dry and lastly began a raking process.

The lake at full pool is 330 feet sea level, which means it's current level of 316 feet makes it nearly 15 feet low.

That's why Bullard got to work.

"We needed a ramp that would be accessible to where people could put their boats in at that elevation for the lake," he said.

Sheryl Silva is the president of "Friends of Mistletoe State Park." Her group put a lot of time into getting the ramp but she says donations are what made the project possible.

"Petsch Respiratory and Robertson Paving. Those are some of the main ones that have been instrumental in getting this project up and going," Silva said.

Bullard says he gives his time to the park because he wants to see it grow in popularity within the community. Bullard added, while the Corps manages the lake levels, only a higher power can get it to full pool.

"The Lord puts the water in it," he said.

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