Parts of Finger Lakes Park drained for dam repairs
COLUMBIA - People wanting to visit Finger Lakes State Park might be surprised to see signs saying parts of the park are currently closed.
The popular state park is undergoing repairs on parts of its dam to prevent irregular water levels.
Debbie Newby, the park's superintendent, said the damage is from heavy rainfall in the spring.
"We had a lot of rain back in April and it caused some damage to our primary spillway," Newby said. "One of the tubes collapsed, so we had to go in and do some emergency repairs to get [water levels] stabilized. It caused us to have to drain the lake down so we can get the actual repairs done."
Missouri State Parks is currently searching for a vendor to complete the repairs. For now, the park's maintenance workers are draining water from parts of the lakes to stabilize water levels.
Newby said damages to any parts of the park's dam disrupts regular circulation of the waterways.
"The whole lake runs by a dam system," Newby said. "It normally just drains out a tube on the lower end of the lake. That's where we had a problem: at the lower end of the lake, a tube collapsed. Right now, it's not functioning properly like it normally would. So we're pumping the water out to prevent it (the lake) from overflowing."
Park officials said about half of the water trails are closed off to the public, but it shouldn't prevent people from using the lake.
"People are still welcome to come out and utilize the water that we still have," Newby said. "The park is still open and we're still functioning as usual. We still have about nine boats out on the water now, so we're still renting boats and people are still coming out and fishing, swimming. So all the activities are still going on with the water that we do have available."
Officials said the only event canceled due to repairs is the Finger Lakes Adventure Challenge. Newby said the race would run normally next summer. She also said she expects the dam to be fully repaired by the end of winter.