Visitation up at Lake Meredith, new amenities coming soon

Visitation up at Lake Meredith, new amenities coming soon
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

FRITCH, TX (KFDA) - As Lake Meredith continues drawing more visitors, park officials are drawing up more plans to revitalize the area.

The lake saw a 29.56 percent increase in visitors last year with 1,329,076 visitors.

National Park Service Park Ranger Carl Brenner said when the water goes up, so does the traffic rolling into lake Meredith.

"It's boaters, it's fisherman, it's hikers, it's mountain bikers, it's hunters, it's off-road vehicle use," said Brenner. "It's a great opportunity to come out and use some of the largest public lands in the Panhandle region of Texas."

While it was a successful 2017, Brenner said this year will be even better.

"We are also looking to break ground this month on between 10 and 12 RV sites with water and electric hookups in the Sanford-Yake campgrounds," said Brenner. "We're getting a new dock down at the Sanford-Yake boat ramp so it'll be 188 feet long."

Brenner said they hope to break ground on the Sanford-Yake campgrounds in late January or early February.

They also plan on bringing the new dock out later this spring.

The Fritch Fortress Amphitheater will also have a jam-packed schedule with concerts and events like movies at the lake.

The more people visiting means even more revenue for surrounding cities like Fritch.

Fritch City Manager Drew Brassfield said when the lake is booming, so is local business.

"Anytime the lake levels are up and visitors are in town that's obviously going to be better for local businesses," said Brassfield. "Sales tax is increased and so that certainly helps us fund the services that we as a city provide. We've attracted new bait and boat rental business, it's just a win win."

The rise in visitation can be attributed to 2017's rising water levels.

"Doppler" Dave Oliver said often when we hit a drought the lake drains fast, however 2017 was a little different because we had a surplus of rain going into October.

"Then even after the rain stopped, we had all the discharge, the release from Ute Lake," said Oliver. "So we had a lot of water that came down the Canadian River that kept our level up. Now that we're in winter time, even though we've been dry for so long, there's been less usage, people aren't watering as much, there's not as much evaporation and we still have a little flow in the Canadian. So right now we're still holding that lake level."

Doppler Dave also said these high lake levels won't hold forever.

Regardless, Brenner is hopeful the new year will bring more people.

"It's been a long time coming to get back to this point," said Brenner. "The lake is coming back up, the visitation is coming back up and we're glad to see the people coming back up."

Brenner also said there are efforts underway to add more campgrounds near the Fritch Fortress Amphitheater.

Lake Meredith will also have a vendor return this year down at Sanford-Yake boat ramp where you can get your bait and tackle supplies as well as rent boats, kayaks, and paddleboards.

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