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Published on February 28, 2024
Boaters Advised to Navigate With Care as Lake Billy Chinook Levels Lower for Maintenance WorkSource: State of Oregon

Boaters heading to The Cove Palisades State Park in Oregon might need to bring extra patience along with their life jackets this spring. The usually bustling waters of Lake Billy Chinook will be a bit quieter and shallower as maintenance work requires the reservoir to be held at lower levels. According to Oregon State Parks, boaters are urged to exercise caution when navigating these temporary conditions.

Park visitors might find themselves in a tight spot with the docks sitting lower in the water and a higher chance of bumping into underwater hazards like rocks and debris. Advice from the park management -- keep an eye out for the signs pointing to the safest docks and ramps to use. As per an Oregon State Parks notice, the ramps could stretch farther into the water, exposing unexpected drop-offs that could turn a day on the lake into a more memorable one for the wrong reasons.

The maintenance, a joint effort by Portland General Electric (PGE) and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs to repair the Round Butte Dam, means the water will stay low until mid-April. But adventure-seekers, fear not. The park's boat ramps are still in business, albeit with more of a journey to the water's edge. "We apologize for any inconvenience, and we appreciate everyone’s patience this spring as water levels return to normal," stated Steve Bifano, The Cove Palisades State Park Manager, in a statement.

Once the fixes are finished, boaters can look forward to Lake Billy Chinook bouncing back to its regular summer levels, targeted to hit 1,944 feet elevation by June 5. PGE has said that the water level limbo won't impact water quality or disturb the fish and wildlife calling the reservoir home.