First, it was several years of drought that saw Lake Arrowhead shrink to under 20 percent of its capacity, then flooding in 2015 that ended the drought but also closed the park campgrounds. Since then, Lake Arrowhead State Park has been slowly rebounding with higher visitor numbers.
This year, they have seen about 60,000 more total visits from the low points during the drought and then the summer 2015 floods. But the increase of people in the park and on the lake can also bring an increase in accidents.
The Labor Day holiday is a great weekend for friends and family to get together and spend quality time with each other at a state park just minutes from Wichita Falls. James Romig and his son decided to spend their last day of this weekend, fishing.
“We always love coming out fishing and he loves doing that kind of thing,” Romig said.
They are just one of many families that came to Lake Arrowhead State Park this weekend. After seeing low numbers during the drought that ended in 2015, the state park is seeing visits creep up.
“The last year of the drought was pretty bad out here. We had about 23,000 park visitors that year and our year just ended in August for our fiscal year. And we saw just over 85,000 people so, it was definitely a large difference there and that’s primarily due to the water level itself,” Lake Arrowhead Superintendent Keith Gauthier said.
But with the increase in numbers, typically comes an increase in accidents from one of two areas. But this year has been different.
“Whenever we have accidents, it’s one of two things. It’s either due to crowding or you know more boats being on the water or it has to do with alcohol,” Game Warden for Texas Parks and Wildlife Eddie Hood said.
“Up here in our area this labor day weekend out on the water, we haven’t had any accidents,” Hood said.
A safe outing at the lake is what Romig said makes memories that will last a lifetime.
“When I was growing up about his age my dad used to take me fishing and it meant so much to me. So, I’m just passing on that legacy to my son,” Romig said
A legacy future generations will probably be passing on too because the lake has shown it can survive the worst of droughts and the worst of floods.
The 85,000 people that came to the park this year, was a slight increase from last year. So, it looks like people are starting to make their way back to the park.