BUCKEYE LAKE- What do the Queen of the Lake II and Buckeye Lake tourism have in common?
Both are dry docked for the time being, said Buckeye Lake Museum Director J-me Braig. The State of Ohio’s plans to replace Buckeye Lake’s 4.1-mile earthen dam during the next five years – and maintain low pool during the process-has frozen many of the Buckeye Lake Museum’s functions, such as promoting tourism and piloting the Queen of the Lake II, which is a large pontoon boat used for lake tours.
“The status of the Queen is like all the other boats on the lake right now – dry dock,” Braig said. “The (Buckeye Lake Historical Society) board will decide if we should sell her. We may possibly lease her out to another lake.”
Braig said Buckeye Lake’s tourism has run aground as well. “Tourism has been dry docked just like the Queen,” she said. “Our museum committees are working on activities related to the lake but not of a boating nature – activities and fund raisers off site.”
For example, Braig said July 17, the historical society is holding a big event at Judge Luann Cooperrider’s home.
As grim as things look today, Braig said the historical society is planning for the future. “A bigger Queen-a double-decker with dinner area and dancing,” she said.
The Buckeye Lake Historical Society manages Cranberry Bog for ODNR. Braig said the bog is weathering low pool, but for now public tours are on hold. “None of the tours will resume this year – Queen or Bog – due to the low water levels,” she said. “It’s impossible to get any visitors out to the bog.”
Buckeye Lake Museum board member Mary Muryn said the bog is recovering after suffering some “shock” when the lake was drained to low pool quickly earlier this year. “It looks much better now,” she said. Muryn said but a group managed to get out to remove some sumac from the surface and clear out the trails. Cranberries are blooming now and the Prothonotary Warbler population, which has its summer home on Cranberry Bog, is good.
Braig said, “With all the rain the orchids, cranberries and other plants look great,” she said. “We are not really sure what is going on underneath it at this time. Its health will be charted over the next three to five years.
Muryn said the loss of tour income is hurting the Buckeye Lake Historical Society. A total of 34 group tours had to be cancelled this year. Muryn said the historical society has 335 members and could use more members to offset the revenues lost from tours. Visit www.buckeyelakehistory.org for membership information.