Flooding impacts businesses on Bull Shoals Lake

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KIRBYVILLE, Mo. (KSPR) - Many of us are gearing up for a three-day weekend, but widespread flooding has already put a damper on Memorial Day. Families that rely on Bull Shoals Lake to make a living are still battling high water and they’re bracing for a major drop in revenue this summer.

For example, K Highway south of Kirbyville is closed because part the road disappears into Bull Shoals Lake.

“Right now what you’re looking at is our boat launch, which is 28 feet below,” explained Scott Hansen, “So there’s a lot of water that has to come out of here before we’re going to be back to normal.”

Scott Hansen is keeping his pontoon gassed up and ready to go because that’s the only way you can get to K Dock marina. He says the main walkway to their marina is underwater. He says the lake needs to fall about 14 feet before he can start using the walkway again, and open back up to the general public. However, he says the lake is only falling a couple inches a day.

“So as you can see, we’re going to be closed to the general public for quite a while until we get the main walkway back,” said Hansen.

Hansen says he and his wife have been working hard over the last three weeks to get the gas hooked up, stock up on food and drinks, and clean up debris from the flood.

“Every piece of timber, every stick, every leaf, every animal you can imagine rolled down through here when the flash flood hit us,” Hansen said.

About 30 minutes down the road off O Highway in Taney County, Beaver Creek Marina is having similar problems.

“Right now, we are just an island out here in the middle of the lake,” said Art Hale, owner of Beaver Creek Marina.

He says there’s a large parking lot, several campsites and an entire light pole underwater. He also needs a boat to get to his business.

“I would say the years we flood this bad, we probably get half the revenue we should. And so, it makes it tough, you know? Normally, you would have years to kind of balance it out. But in the last seven years, it’s been just incredible, the flooding in here,” he explained.

Both marina owners say they’ll spend the Memorial Day weekend shuttling their customers to and from their boats.

“I’m going to run every half hour, starting at 8:30 in the morning, all the way through Monday of Memorial Day,” said Hansen.

They say business will take a hit this summer, but they’re keeping things in perspective.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people who’ve lost their house and flooded, and their family heirlooms and everything. And so we’re way better than that. At least we float,” said Hale.

“You can get sad, and get angry. Yell at the Corps. There’s no reason for that. You know you just take it in stride. And you just do your best because like I said, these people are coming down on vacation. Our job is to make them happy. We want them smiling when they get here, smiling when they leave,” said Hansen.

Hansen says he’s dealt with flooding before. He says Bull Shoals Lake was built to flood, and it goes up and down often. But Hansen and Hale say they haven’t seen the lake this high since 2011. He says it's a waiting game, and he's hoping the lake goes down soon.

If you’re taking your boat out on the lake this weekend, remember there’s a ton of logs, limbs, and even entire trees floating around in the water. That means you’re going to want to take it slow, and keep an eye out for obstacles. Park Rangers say don’t swim for a boat that’s drifting away, have another boater retrieve it. Rangers say wear a life jacket, and limit your alcohol intake.