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Greenbrier lake reopened for swimming

May 24, 2000|By TARA REILLY

Residents who want to beat the heat this summer by taking a dip can once again find some relief at Greenbrier State Park lake, which has been closed for a year.

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The park's 42-acre lake will reopen Memorial Day weekend, Park Manager Dan Spedden said Wednesday.

The man-made lake was closed to swimmers last summer because of low water levels. Park officials drained the lake in September 1998 to repair its gate valve, expecting rain and snow melt to replenish the lake by the summer of 1999.

Spedden said last year's drought prolonged the process, keeping the lake at shallow levels longer than anticipated.

"It took the whole calendar year of 1999 to refill the lake because of the drought," Spedden said.

The lake, 35-feet at its deepest point, is back to its normal water levels.

Spedden said the valve that controls how much water flows out of the lake had to be replaced to prevent a malfunction.

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"If it were stuck closed, there could've been a failure in the dam and we'd have an overflow," Spedden said. "If it were stuck open, we would've lost all of our water. To avoid that catastrophe we replaced it before it failed. It was a serious safety issue for us."

The lake was made in the mid-1960s.

The park serves more than 450,000 visitors each year, according to the Department of Natural Resources.

The lake will be open for swimmers in the roped off areas seven days a week from 8 a.m. to sunset.

Greenbrier State Park also offers fishing, picnicking, camping, hiking, mountain biking and other recreational activities.

Park fees Memorial Day through Labor Day are $2 per person during the week and $3 per person on weekends. Wednesdays are half price at $1 per person. Before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, the entrance fee is $2 per vehicle on weekends only.

Camping fees are $20 for sites without electricity and $25 for sites with it. Senior citizens receive a half price discount on camping Sunday through Thursday. Reservations may be made by calling 1-888-432-CAMP (2267) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Greenbrier State Park is 10 miles east of Hagerstown on U.S. 40. The park is accessible from Interstate 70 from the Myersville, Beaver Creek or Hagerstown exits.

For more information, call the park office at 301-791-4767.

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