High area lake levels, swift currents will make boating dangerous

Submerged park facilities and debris could make boating hazardous over the Memorial Day weekend. (Photo by Christy Soto)
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(KWTX) High area lake levels and swift river currents will make boating dangerous over the long Memorial Day weekend, Central Texas park rangers say.

Lead Lake Waco Park Ranger Michael Champagne says water is slowly receding but it can still be dangerous to be out on the water this weekend.

“The submerged hazards are one of the biggest dangers, you need to pay attention to so you don’t run into something,” Champagne said.

“Right now between Lake Waco, Aquilla and Whitney. we are releasing 20,000 cubic feet per second into the Brazos River so the river is flowing pretty strong,” Champagne said.

“With a strong current if you fall out of our boat it will be very difficult for you to get back on,” Champagne said.

On Thursday Falls County deputies rescued two boaters who ended up stranded in the rain swollen Brazos River.

Champagne also warns about mixing alcohol and boating.

“Alcohol is a large part in accidents, boating accidents and boating fatalities so we urge people to be careful and wear their lifejackets, "Champagne said.

Lake Aquilla was more than 8 feet above normal Friday, Lake Belton was more than 10 feet above normal, Stillhouse Hollow Lake was more than 8 feet above normal, Lake Whitney was nearly 17 feet above normal, and Lake Waco as more than 13 feet above normal.

The high-water has left most parks and boat ramps at Central Texas lakes closed.

At Lake Aquilla only the Outlet Works and Fishing Platform were open on Friday.

At Lake Belton Arrowhead Point, Belton Lakeview, Cedar Ridge, Miller Springs Overlook and White Flint parks were fully open.

Iron Bridge, Leona, Live Oak Ridge, Owl Creek, Rogers and Westcliff Parks were partially open.

At Stillhouse Hollow Lake only the Chalk Ridge Falls Nature Area, Overlook Park and Rivers Bend Park were fully open.

Dana Peak Park was partially open.

At Lake Waco, only Bosque Park and Waco Dam parks were fully open.

Reynolds Creek Park was partially open.

All parks at Lake Whitney were closed except for Riverside, which was only partially open.

Champagne says the facilities will remain closed for at least a couple of more weeks until lake levels return to normal.

After the water recedes, rangers will host a volunteer day to help clean up, he said.