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Drought causes recreational opportunities to dry up on area lakes


Kelsey Peck / WUFT-FM

Area lake levels dropping from ongoing dry conditions.

As dry conditions continue, the lack of rain has some missing out on recreational fun on Melrose area lakes as water levels dip extremely low. WUFT-FM’s Kelsey Peck traveled to the area today where she found getting to spend time on the water is a “cherished” opportunity.

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Melrose resident and artist David Beede’s has lived off of Little Lake Swan for the past 32 years. Because the  beauty of this lake is the focal point of his backyard…it’s hard not to notice that this lake has taken on a different look.

Beede took Kelsey for a ride to get a closer look at the lake. But they didn’t take his sailboat that sits out in the front of his house, they took the golfcart, and it was probably for the best if they wanted to get close enough. It’s also the only option to get to Big Swan Lake is through a canal that once connected that lake to the one Beede lives off of now  That spot is now covered in trees and shrubs.  Meanwhile he is still using little Lake Swan…but in a very untraditional way by riding in a golf cart instead of a sailboat.

He says he’s seen his neighbors go for a swim but has seen very limited boating. For another resident Jessica Winnkien who lives off a canal off Santa Fe Lake, water levels are so low, she and her family haven’t been able to take a ride on the boat since September.

Rain isn’t expected to make its way through the north central Florida area for almost another week.  The St. Johns River Water Management District says Clay County is a little more than 17 inches below normal when it comes to average rainfall and Putnam County a little more than 18 inches for the past twelve months.

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