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Resorts afloat and dock services flooded with calls

At Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center on Lake Darling, the shoreline is usually a sprawling lawn of summer fun. However, now, it's a swamped mess as the lake has flooded in, exceeding its ordinary high water level.

Douglas County's high lake levels continue to slosh along the shores.

Several heavy rainfalls this summer have pushed local lakes above their ordinary high water levels.

The soggy shorelines are a burden for some lakeside businesses, but a business booster for others.

Either way, customers are welcome to continue pouring in, but more rain is not.

Impact on area resorts

Arrowwood Resort and Conference Center is on Lake Darling where the lake level has risen quite a bit - as have all lakes on The Chain.

As of last Friday, the resort's lakeside marina building would still have a foot of water standing in it if they weren't keeping it pumped out.

Arrowwood's General Manager Jeff Wilde said, "It's certainly an inconvenience, an eyesore and a smelly mess."

The flooded shoreline has forced the staff to relocate front lawn activities, dinners and bonfires, but the water hasn't impacted business badly, Wilde said.

And, despite the swampy shoreline, Wilde said guests are understanding of the situation.

"I think they feel sorry for us. They realize we're doing all we can to accommodate them and stay open," he said.

"I'm very proud of our staff for all they've done to accommodate our guests.

"No one who has worked here many years has seen [the water] this high" he added.

John Spinner has owned Broken Arrow Resort on Lake Victoria for 32 years. The high water has forced him to raise docks and to riprap the resort's shoreline - the high water had started washing out his lakeside retaining walls.

"People are putting up with the water, I guess they have no choice," he said.

Spinner said he's heard that some resorts have lost business as a result of the high water.

It may be due in part to the fact that fishing has been affected by the high water, too.

"I guess it makes the fish all that harder to find. It used to be you could go out to certain spots to find them, but people just can't find fish as easy as they have in years past," Spinner said.

The Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce staff reports hearing that beaches are being washed out at many local resorts.

Dock and boatlift business booming

Steve Crane, owner of Dock Master and Bayside Rentals, said his crews are running non-stop raising and reconfiguring docks and bringing in boatlifts.

"Normally our crews run in the spring, putting in docks and lifts until maybe June 1. Then, work is pretty non-existent in the summer, other than some maintenance issues. But, this year, I have two guys out running non-stop."

Lakeshore owners are calling businesses, like Dock Master, to get their docks raised to stay above the lake's surface - sometimes a couple times. However, the water has been on the rise and swamping docks.

Crane said business has more than doubled because of the rising water, "I hate the misfortune for other people, but business has been good."

Crane said what's happening now is people are getting frustrated and taking their [docks and lifts] out of the water.

"They're telling us that they're done fighting with the water this season," he said.

That's also what Eric Thesing, owner of Central Marine and Sports in Carlos, is hearing from some of his customers.

"It's getting to the point now where a lot of people are just saying, 'To heck with it,' and pulling their docks and lifts out, calling it over for the summer season," he said.

In the meantime, Thesing said he and his staff are just trying to keep up.

"We've been busy, but it's not a good busy, there are better ways to be busy. The high water is just getting to be a strain on everybody, whether you're a homeowner or a person providing lake service because [the water] keeps going up."

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133