Special to The Times
PARKERSBURG - A rainy spring has put a damper on an area tourist attraction and recreational activities.
The return of steady rainfall throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley has led to the temporary closure of Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park after April's frequent rains delayed the opening of its tourism season.
Blennerhassett spokesman Pam Salisbury said Blennerhassett Island will be closed today to visitors due to high water on the Ohio River affecting the landing area at Civitan Park in Belpre, while the rest of the week will be decided on a day-by-day basis.
She recommended calling the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History at 304-420-4800 for updates on the situation through the week.
Salisbury said the current tourism season on Blennerhassett Island has not had the best start. The island was originally supposed to open May 1 to visitors, but that opening was delayed until May 10 due to high water.
Blennerhassett Island has only had one open weekend, but officials hope to be open this weekend if weather and water levels permit.
Blennerhassett Island will also be open next weekend for the Memorial Holiday weekend, including being open on Memorial Day itself, she said.
The Ohio Valley Rowing Club in Parkersburg has been affected this spring by high water.
John Apgar, president of Ohio Valley Rowing Club, said fluctuating high and low water and debris piling up around the docks have made the season difficult.
"It ruined our spring season. We usually have a youth rowing program, but March was so bad that there wasn't a single day we could get on the water," Apgar said. "All this debris came down the river and piled up against the docks, and we really couldn't use them. There were pieces of plastic, trash, tires and huge trees and limbs that got wedged under the docks."
Randy Weese with the Blennerhassett Yacht Club said the club is running behind because of rain and high water.
"We usually get our docks in the first week of May, but we are just now getting them in, so we're a little behind schedule," Weese said. "The only boats I've really seen on the river are bass boats."
The first week of May is typically a busy time for the yacht club.
"We only have a couple boats in right now, but everyone is getting pretty excited to get in the water. Everyone is waiting for that pretty weather," he said.
The Ohio River is expected to crest Thursday afternoon in Parkersburg at 26.5 feet. Flood stage is 36 feet.
According to the National Weather Service in Charleston, today's forecast continues to call for showers with a chance of precipitation at 80 percent and high temperatures near 60.