by Jim Grawe
9:50 PM CDT, August 20, 2012
(BUTLER COUNTY, Kan.)
When you have a classic boat like Greg Largen's 1972 Century Arabian, you want to take it out and enjoy it. And, for the first summer in years, Largen has been enjoying a lot of evenings on El Dorado Lake.
"Everything's been great," Largen says. "We love it!"
Largen and his wife have had a lot of company out on the lake, because El Dorado is one of the few Kansas lakes that hasn't been devastated by the hot, dry weather which is shriveling up a lot of lakes and, in a lot of cases, causing blue-green algae outbreaks.
The water level at El Dorado is about two to three feet below what's considered normal, but park manager Seth Turner says that hasn't restricted access to any of the docks or boat ramps nor has it affected recreation at the lake in any significant way.
"I think we benefit from the low levels at Cheney," Turner says. "There's only one usable boat ramp right now at Cheney, and they expect that to be gone in a couple weeks."
Turner says El Dorado is deeper than Cheney because it's younger and less silted in. So when the water drops a few feet there's less impact. As a result, a lot of people that might be taking their boats west of Wichita to Cheney, are instead heading to the East.
So far this season, El Dorado has seen 70,000 more visitors than last year and a hundred thousand more than 2010.
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