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Lakes Running Dry on Holiday Weekend

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LOST CREEK LAKE, Ore. – For Ryan Grizzell, it’s a beautiful day to train. Grizzell is an amateur paraglider, and right now is prime time to strap on the parachute and take to the skies.

The problem, he says, is that his favorite stomping grounds at Lost Creek Lake are disappearing beneath him.

“We have a lot of shoreline that gets exposed that cuts off really huge areas of the lake,” said Grizzell.

Grizzell is one of a number of water recreation enthusiasts who could be losing out this year. At nearby Howard Prairie, the boat ramp sits about 15-feet below normal. Right next to that the docks, normally home to 60-70 boats, are on completely dry land.

That means sailing enthusiasts like Gary Spafford, many of whom are getting out onto the water for the first time this year this weekend, will likely have to take their boats home before the end of the season.

“There’s nothing we can do,” said Spafford. “We could take it over to lost creek or the San Juan’s, we’ve done that before, but that was in my younger years.”

But while the enthusiasts are counting their days, park operators say plenty of people are still showing up.

“We’ve got over 90 sites rented this weekend, a lot of day users,” said Park Supervisor Mark Burnett.

That’s a welcome crowd, but not enough to counteract the effects of the drought. Parks and recreation officials say they’ve budgeted for a down year.

And while that may be bad news for the county, it’s even worse news for those who are missing their time on the water.

“From Wednesday to today, I can already see the shoreline has dropped,” said Grizzell. “So our days are numbered.”