Cove Lake, a popular recreation area located near the base of Mount Magazine, reopened last week after being closed for a week because tests found high levels of E Coli bacteria in the water.
Spring Lake, which is also in Logan County, remains closed because of the presence of E Coli in the water.
Kevin Schluterman, who operates the campground at Cove Lake under a contract with the U.S. Forest Service, said the re-opening came just in time for the July 4 holiday.
“We’re in good shape and our cabins are starting to fill up,” Schluterman said.
This time last year, water levels had started to fall and high temperatures were above 100 degrees, as a severe drought started to take hold. However, rainfall this year has been slightly above normal and temperatures for the remainder of this week are not expected to rise above 90.
“At first, our cabins were almost full for the Fourth,” Schluterman said. “They’re almost empty now because everyone heard the lake was closed. Now that the word is out the lake is open, we’re starting to get phone calls.”
There are 36 campsites and four cabins at Cove Lake. Schluterman said last week he’s hoping they are half-full for the holiday.
E Coli was found in the lake in tests conducted June 20, Schluterman said. The lake was re-opened in June 27.
“The weekend we were closed, we turned away more than 150 cars,” Schluterman said last week. “Swimming is our bread and butter here. We probably lost 95 percent of our business that week. We were doing pretty well, up to that point. Right now, our cabins are booked for the Fourth and we have one reservation in the campground. Hopefully, everyone will hear that we’re open and our bookings will improve.”
According to a new release issued by the Forest Service, E Coli is “usually caused by recent heavy rainfall that can carry a variety of contaminants into the water, including animal wastes.”