Outdoors

Banks Lake drawdown dewaters Steamboat launches

Trail around the 640-acre plateau on top of Steamboat Rock leads spring hikers into a wildflower world above Banks Lake and the scablands below. (FILE The Spokesman-Review)
Trail around the 640-acre plateau on top of Steamboat Rock leads spring hikers into a wildflower world above Banks Lake and the scablands below. (FILE The Spokesman-Review)

BOATING — Coulee Playland Resort still offers boat access to Banks Lake, but travelers planning to spend Labor Day weekend at Steamboat Rock State Park may not be able to launch their boat as water levels have dropped too low.

The lake is being drawn down to accommodate a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation repair of the headworks at Dry Falls Dam in Coulee City.
 
By Labor Day, the lake is expected to be down by 10 to 15 feet from traditional summer water levels, and traditional water levels may not return until March 2012.
 
The main launch area at Steamboat Rock is blocked by sand and is unusable. The Osborn Bay launch is usable by four-wheel drive vehicles only.
 
Lou Nevsimal of Coulee Playland Resort at Electric City said they have a shallow ramp that's working for boaters willing to back into the water to their vehicle bumpers.
 
The resort's deep-water ramp should be accessible by Friday, he said today. 
 
“The water's dropping six inches a day,” he said. “That means our deep ramp should be exposed by Wednesday and then we need a couple days for the approach to dry out enough to let people drive on it.”
 
Near Coulee City, some boaters are negotiating an extremely long backup to launch off an old gravel road bed.
“I don't recommended that for launching a boat of any substantial weight,” Nevsimal said. “I wouldn't launch my boat there.”



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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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