Tourists discover some Cave Run and Laurel lakes' boat ramps, recreation areas closed

vhoneycutt@herald-leader.comOctober 8, 2013 

Lake enthusiasts in Kentucky are finding that they can't camp, picnic or put a boat in the water on some federally owned property as a result of the partial shutdown of the federal government.

Federally operated boat ramps and recreational areas at Cave Run Lake and Laurel Lake are closed, officials said Tuesday.

However, people who already have boats in the water can operate them and private marinas on both lakes are open.

At Cave Run Lake in Rowan County, campgrounds, recreational areas and boat ramps overseen by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' were closed Tuesday, said Anthony Orr, Corps project manager at the lake. Orr said privately owned marinas remain open.

At Laurel Lake, Jason Nedlo, District Ranger for the U.S. Forest Service, said boat ramps, campgrounds and a shooting range on federally owned land are all closed.

"You wouldn't be able to use the boat ramps to get your boat in the water, but boats on the water are able to move around the lake. The lake itself isn't closed, Nedlo said.

Randy Lawson, the general manager at Holly Bay Marina and Grove Marina on Laurel Lake, said his privately owned marinas are open. But Lawson said this past weekend at least 1,500 people wanting to enjoy Laurel Lake were affected by the closings.

Lawson said customers have come from Michigan and Chicago with boats only to find that they could not put them in the water using the federally owned ramps.

He said that his privately owned Laurel Lake Camping Resort remains open, but campgrounds on federal land are closed.

Lawson, a board member of the Kentucky Marina Association, said he expects that group to address at an annual conference next month "the effect that this government is having on a very recreational and seasonal business."

Tom Hale, manager for the Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Cumberland, said ramps operated by the Corps there are currently open because there were funds available from the previous fiscal year. However, Hale said there had been several Army Corps of Engineers employees furloughed and he was operating with a limited staff.

Meanwhile, Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday that all state agencies "are currently assessing the possible effects of a prolonged shutdown."

"It is obviously in the best interest of every Kentuckian that the folks in Washington, D.C. start acting like adults and resolve this impasse," Beshear said.

Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter:@vhspears

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