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Low water causes boating issues at Panhandle reservoirs

It’s been a hot, dry summer, and boaters visiting Lake Minatare and Box Butte state recreation areas may find launching and loading boats to be a challenge in coming weeks.

Because of low water levels, the docks have reached the end of their track systems, making them unusable until the water rises sometime after irrigation season.

Dan Thornton, Lake Minatare superintendent, said the dock there is expected to be completely out of the water before the coming weekend.

“There isn’t much rock at that end of the ramp, so putting boats in will be difficult at best,” he said.

Robert Hughes, Box Butte superintendent, said the dock is not in the water there, but about 50 feet of ramp remains there and the lake should remain accessible to boat trailers.

Another Panhandle reservoir, Whitney Lake, has been unconducive for launching boats for several weeks as low water has left its ramp and dock high and dry.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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