High Water Levels Affect Lake Hancock Access For Boaters, Hikers

Although the temporary closure of Circle B Bar Reserve because of the effects of Hurricane Ian has been well-publicized, some other recreational facilities around Lake Hancock have been affected, too.

Also affected are the Marshall Hampton Reserve and the Lake Hancock boat ramp, which means the Panther Point Trail, whose trailheads are located at both these facilities, is also temporarily closed, too.

Portions of the trail were probably underwater, based on what was reported at Circle B and the fact that the Panther Point Trail has a few low spots adjacent to the wetlands surrounding the lake.

The situation was a challenge to Polk’s sign makers, who typically close ramps when the water is too low for safe boat passage.

The word “low” has been made fainter in the sign leading to the ramp.

The problem was high water, of course, at the fact that the Southwest Florida Water Management District structure on Saddle Creek near the ramp was allowing water to flow downstream and probably creating a healthy downstream current may have contributed to the decision to close the ramp.

Nevertheless, water levels are gradually dropping.

The U.S. Geological Survey gauge at Bartow now shows the river level has dropped below flood stage and it is likely to keep dropping as the area proceeds into the dry season and a predicted dry winter.

There is still no word on when Circle B will reopen to the public.

At last word the staff had some more work to complete in addition to what some local volunteers have accomplished recently.

Stay tuned.

Posted in Group Conservation Issues.