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Lopez Lake closes boat launch ramp as lake levels reach record lows

lopez lake boat launch ramp.JPG
Posted at 7:03 PM, May 16, 2022

Lopez Lake closed the boat launch on Monday, due to record low water levels. Boats are no longer able to launch without hitting the bottom of the lake.

Years of drought ravaging the state of California have led to this.

Nearly undetectable from day to day, over the years this slow regression has been culminating in an official closure of the Lopez Lake boat launch.

Paul Clayton, a camp host at the Lake, has watched the levels drop for years but never imagined they would get this low.

"You really don’t notice it until it gets to a point, we can't launch boats anymore," said Clayton.

Before the drought got this bad, visitors would drive up to find the lake full of water and boaters, a stark comparison to what remains now.

The lake is a nearly bone dry version of what used to be.

"The final straw was the fact that you would drag part of your boat in the mud when you were trying to launch a boat," said Brian Wilder, supervising Park Ranger.

As of now there are only a few feet of water from the surface down to the bottom, which is just not feasible to launch a larger boat.

The lake however is still allowing hand launches, which means things like kayaks, canoes and floating tubes are still good to go.

But a closure like this right at the precipice of summer, is a tough blow.

"Typically on a summer weekend, this is full with boats and its just not going to be that way so its really hard to see," said Wilder.

While this puts a pause on water sports and other larger boat related activities, smaller boats are still encouraged.

Fishing is an activity that is still going strong, the lake will continue to be stocked for fishermen who are willing to switch from their larger fishing boat to a smaller hand launch-able one.

There is no set date on when the boat launch will reopen, that is dependent on the weather and relies on more rain.