Despite a wetter than normal spring, staff at Grand Lake St. Marys are gearing up for what is expected to be a busy weekend.

“It’s the first jewel in the triple crown for us,” Grand Lake St. Marys Park Manager Brian Miller said referring to Memorial Day weekend. “Memorial Day is always touch and go and you never really know. It could be nice and it could be a good chance it could be wet and rainy.”

Spring rains have hampered mowing throughout the park. Miller said park personnel has been playing catch up this week.

“It’s been challenging for us,” Miller said. “We caught a break yesterday (Monday) and late last week. There are still areas we cannot mow because of standing water.”

To help soggy conditions, Miller said park visitors this weekend will be offered straw to help dry out campsites. The weather, he noted, has impacted attendance so far this year.

“Occupancy is down this spring and it’s not water quality related,” Miller said, referring to last week’s advisory regarding an algal bloom. “It’s weather related. We’ve had a couple nice weekends and those were very good for us.”

The advisory issued last week cautioned against swallowing or swimming in lake water and avoiding surface scum. Fishing, eating fish and boating are all OK, Miller noted.

“Prior to the advisory, all reservable electric sites were full,” Miller said. “I did notice we had a few cancellations.”

To help get the word out about the lake conditions, park staff recorded and distributed a message sent to those who had reservations.

The message offered an option to transfer reservations to another park as well as information reiterating the fact the lake is open to boating and fishing.

“They are just wanting to know what is going on,” Miller said.

“They want to know what the no contact means to them.”

Of the 176 electric sites at the park, 155 are reservable. Miller said he expects those to fill up by the weekend. Given the forecast, Miller said he doesn’t believe the no contact advisory will impact attendance.

“Temperatures are still cool and I think people will be looking to come out,” Miller said.

“I don’t think a lot would tube or ski because of water and air temperatures. I think some will bring boats and take a ride. The biggest thing I see is people fishing.”


By Mike Burkholder, The Evening Leader