More boaters than usual spent their Father's Day weekend at Carter Lake due to restricted access along the flooding Missouri River.
“It might be a permanent change for us,” said Derrick Blackmore, who typically keeps his boat at N.P. Dodge Park Marina and boats on the river.
The public marina is closed due to flooding, and the Missouri River is closed to recreational boating.
Blackmore, of La Vista, said he was impressed with how much better his boat and Jet Skis ran in the clear water at Carter Lake.
While he and his family enjoy driving up the Missouri River and floating back to the marina, he'd rather keep his boat protected than subject it to harm in the “unpredictable Missouri,” Blackmore said.
The past couple of summers, his boat has been damaged by logs and debris that drift in the river.
“It's nice to float, but that kind of takes away from the ambiance,” he said.
Joel Kincaid of Omaha agreed that Carter Lake's clear water was a nice change.
“The water is clean and you can see about six feet down,” he said, while pulling his two Jet Skis out of the water. “It's a real nice lake.”
Other area boaters were not as excited about the switch.
Cory Heitman of Omaha was disappointed about the large number of boaters at Carter Lake.
Too many boaters caused congestion at the boat ramps, he said.
At about 5 p.m. Sunday evening, a couple of boaters started arguing about taking too much time to load and unload the boats at the ramp, he said.
“I'm sure we'll be back because we don't have any choice,” Heitman said.
It was his first time on the lake in about six years. He typically keeps his boat at N.P. Dodge Park Marina and drives it 10 miles upriver, then stops to swim along sandbars.
Heitman said he recognized about five boats he usually meets on the river, now boating at Carter Lake.
“I can't wait until the river is back,” he said.
Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs had a few more boaters than average on Sunday, too, said park manager Dan Jacobs.
While Lake Manawa State Park closed its campgrounds for the remainder of the summer as a precaution, the lake and shelter areas remain open.
Don Incontro and his daughter, Kristina, and son, Cirino, spent the afternoon on their three-seater Jet Ski on Lake Manawa.
Incontro noticed more large boats — ones usually seen on the river — at the lake.
Still, he felt safe Jet Skiing with his kids.
“Some boaters know the rules, some don't,” he said. “I just stay away from them.”
Wayne Morris of Bellevue said he felt comfortable driving his 27-foot boat around the lake, but the experience was monotonous compared to driving it in the Missouri River.
He and his family usually attach tubes to their boat, but Lake Manawa is too small for that, he said.
Morris doesn't see boating in a smaller area as a major inconvenience, especially considering that some people have lost their homes and possessions to flooding, he said.
“It's just sad,” he said.
Contact the writer: 402-444-1117, firstname.lastname@example.org