AUSTIN (KXAN) — For the first time in three years, boat ramps are closing on Lake Travis.
“So when this happens you look out and go, ‘Man,'” said Dave Peck, a nearby homeowner. “Again, you go with it and adjust accordingly.”
The closures are due to low water levels with the exception of Arkansas Bend which is currently closed for improvements and is expected to reopen this fall.
However, other ramps across Lake Travis are dealing with dropping water levels including:
- Camp Creek Park
- Cypress Creek
- Gloster Bend Recreation Area
- Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area
It’s a disappointing sight for Peck who has been regularly checking on the ramp in Cypress Creek.
“I check it about every three weeks,” said Peck. “I was coming by this way and I wanted to go, ‘OK, what’s happening today?”
When Peck stopped by, he was greeted with a “boat ramp closed sign” and orange barrels blocking the ramp.
“And we had a lot of rain yesterday, too, so theoretically it should be going up a little bit with the rain, right?” he asked. “The reality is hot weather and usage for water.”
For the Steiner Ranch homeowner, this is his favorite spot.
“It’s not like you don’t have access to other places, it’s just this is so convenient to come to drop in,” he said.
Peck is correct, there are several other ramps people can visit — including:
- Bob Wentz at Windy Point
- Jones Brothers Park
- Mansfield Dam
- Narrows Recreation Area
- Pace Bend – Collier Cove
- Pace Bend – Tatum Cove
- Pace Bend – Tournament Point
- Sandy Creek
KXAN stopped by Mansfield Dam, which was suggested on the Cypress Creek Park’s closure sign.
There, visitors were enjoying the day, people like Michael Duncan and his family.
“Every summer we come out here for a week,” said Duncan, who was visiting from Weatherford. The family says they’ve noticed the low water levels.
“It’s kind of going down everywhere,” he said. “All the lakes around Weatherford are going down, too.”
Duncan says it’s hard not to worry, “it’s kind of scary when you own an expensive boat and you’re not sure you can put it in the water. It’s an expensive yard ornament.”
And, with low water levels, underwater hazards like a sandbar can become a problem if people aren’t careful.
“It’s still a huge lake, it’s just figuring out how to get on and be safe while you’re out there,” said Peck.
He’s hopeful for the future, “nature will fill it up again, we just don’t know when,” he says. And adds, “hoping moving forward that we get a lot of rain northwest that fills up the lake, that’s the hope.”
According to the Lower Colorado River Authority, the average level of Lake Travis last July was 667.33 feet above sea level. Currently, it’s at 660.10 feet.
Officials say visitors need to be extra cautious on the water.
Texas Parks and Wildlife says:
- Always wear a life jacket.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Be especially careful on personal watercrafts.
- Children younger than age 13 must wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket while underway.
- Enroll in a boater education class.
- Don’t overload your boat.
- Operate at a safe speed.
- Always have a passenger serve as a lookout in addition to the operator.
- Watch out for low water areas or submerged objects.
For a closer look at all the lake levels and ramp closures, visit the LCRA Public Boat Ramp Information website.