Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Canton Day Paddle

The water level is slowly coming back up at Canton Lake. The change is so slow that it’s hard to tell unless you know specific places to look for differences. For example, the boat ramp at the end of the Canadian Campground is located in a cove. Months ago the entire cove was dry, and it was still necessary to walk out a good ways to reach the water’s edge. The difference on the daily Corps of Engineers levels report shows that the lake level has progressed from -81% to the current -79%. It is hard to imagine that 2% could make such a difference, but there is now enough water in the cove that powerboats can be launched from the ramp.
I had this turtle nicely framed in the shot while it was sitting on
top of the log, but by the time I pressed the shutter, it
was in mid-air.
A tornado a couple of years ago completely destroyed all recognizable traces of the campground as it was. Only scattered debris, some concrete rubble, and twisted tree trunks remained after the storm. The Corps of Engineers redesigned the campground, and while the camping spaces are a bit too close together now, the number of sites was greatly increased. Each space now has a level concrete pad and covered picnic table. Each separate camping area has new restroom and shower facilities that are designed to be tornado-proof up to an F-3, and young trees have been planted. Wait 30 years or so, and it will once again be a nicely shaded campground. While the Corps of Engineers can’t undo Mother Nature’s destructiveness, they have done wonders to rebuild a new facility.

The light was just right to highlight the folds in the layers of
earth.  Before the drought, I could paddle right against the
face of the cliff.  Erosion of the cliff face has created the
raised knoll along the base of the cliff.
On a topic unrelated to the campground, they are also building a new relief overflow around the dam. In the event of that “100-year storm” that would flood the area, to prevent destruction of the dam gates, the overflow relieves the lake of destructive flood water levels.

This picture in 2011 shows me taking a break on the Big Bend
Campground boat ramp.  The same ramp (below) is nowhere
near the water now, and both the ramp and boarding float
are buried in weeds.

When I arrived at the campground, I saw about 50 people working in the campground. My immediate thought was, “Wow, they’re really going at the project. It must be to get everything done for spring before winter comes on.” I later learned that everyone was there to trap the hundreds of prairie dogs so they can be relocated elsewhere.

No comments:

Post a Comment