In Oct. 16-22 Issue
Things were better on Lake Cumberland, but not that much, according to local marina operators.
James Flatt, with Indian Creek Marina, also known as Alligator II, said there were more people on the dock than ever. Problem was that all those people were not spending the way they have in years past.
"It was a pretty decent year," Flatt said.
Bill Jasper, president of State Dock, said they have more dock customers now that they did last year, or the year before, but he also saw some penny-pinching. "People tended to sit at the dock more-and when they went out they weren't riding up and down the lake the way they used to."
The weather was good to them over the summer and the warm fall hasn't hurt things either.
"People are still swimming," Jasper said. "There was a 76 boat raft-up on Columbus day."
But he said the heavy summer traffic has gone and though it has been a good fall some have already winterized their boats and the cold snap this weekend is likely to push more boat owners to do the same.
"But we have some of them that come down and stay on the boats year round," Jasper added.
As to what next season Jasper was cautiously optimistic.
"The economy changes every day but people are always going to spend money on what they are passionate about," Jasper said. "And boaters are passionate about boating."
Flatt isn't as sure about that.
"I expect a tough year next year," he said. "I don't think that the water level hurt us this year as much as the economy did."
He said there are more boats for sale around the lake than he has ever seen before. "But they are just not moving like they have in the past," Flatt added.
"I believe it will get worse before it gets better," Flatt concluded.
Esty Slusser, who along with her husband Ed owns and operates what was Alligator I Marina is more bullish.
She said their patrons have been very positive about the relocation and renaming to Cave Springs Marina.
"They all loved it," Slusser said. "I've not heard anybody at all say they don't like the new location."
She said the cleaner clearer water and the view at their new location nearer to the main body of the lake has been a hit with boaters.
As to the future, "We'll be alright. We did well this year."
The marinas were not the only ones seeing more people. James Gray, Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery Executive Director said they saw more visitors this year than last as well.
"It has been a very good fall too," Gray added.
He said they are planning another full season of events at the hatchery for next year, and credited the "Friends" group with contributing the funds to help make some of those possible.
"The Friends group was pretty active this year. They've done a lot, though they could always use a few more members," Gray said.
But if the marinas have concerns for the future because of the economy Gray said they are intensified there.
"Right now we don't have a budget so we're operating under a continuing resolution," He explained. "That says we can't spend any more than last year but people's raises go into effect and nothing else is getting cheaper."
With the recent government spending to shore-up the economy he is concerned with how much will be left to fund the outreach programs at the hatchery, and added that everything is up in the air until the presidential election is over.