By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON - After a slow start to boating season, the river finally began to cooperate and the weather has stayed relatively ideal for area boaters.
But now that people are finally getting to enjoy one of Clinton’s biggest attractions, the window of opportunity is slowly beginning to close.
Labor Day is typically the time of year when people get the chance to enjoy one last trip on the Mississippi River before ending their boating season, meaning a busy time for the river, and this year lived up to that reputation.
Clinton Marina Manager Cindy Brackemeyer said that she hasn’t seen as much activity as she had hoped for this season but Labor Day has been the best weekend they’ve had so far.
“The weekend’s been good,” Brackemeyer said. “I feel l’ve seen more boats out this weekend moreso than others this year.”
The lack of activity this year is in part because of high river levels in May and June, and below average temperatures in early July.
Veteran boater Lisa Murray said that although it has been a short season, she and her family have been able to enjoy what’s left of the summer.
“We would have liked to be out in May and June but because the water was so high we didn’t get out until the end of July,” Murray said. “(But) we’ll keep going all the way through September if the weather is nice.”
That resilient attitude is something Brackemeyer has seen a lot of this summer and something that many boaters must possess in order to enjoy the unpredictable Mississippi.
“You make the best of what you can,” Murray said. “Sometimes you just have to take your chances with the river and with the water.”
Murray and her family are not the only ones who will extend the season as far as it can go.
Diane Johnson of Burlington hopes that she and her husband can enjoy a few more trips out on the boat before putting it away for the winter.
“We didn’t get into the water until the Fourth of July and we’ve been in ever since,” Johnson said. “But we’re hoping for a few more good weekends.”
To highlight that effort to extend the season, Brackemeyer and the Clinton Marina will host an end-of-the-season boater bash Sept. 14.
A live band will entertain guests and food will be offered to marina slip holders and members of the public who would like to attend the event.
Brackemeyer said it will be an opportunity for the marina to say thank you to the slip renters and all the transient boaters who made the best out of this year.
The only concern she and boaters have for the end of the season is the river dropping below a safe travel level.
“Low water has people a little concerned and (the Corps) already had to dredge,” Brackemeyer said. “But we’ll see what happens.”