Boaters Deal With Gas Prices
By: Carly O'Keefe
WILLIAMSON COUNTY, IL --Labor Day Weekend is viewed as the last chance for summer fun, but this year, high fuel costs may have put a kink in some holiday plans at Rend Lake.
"On a three-day weekend, it's usually so crowded out there, you can't move. But here you could find smooth water everywhere--because there were no boats," said boater Rick Trout of Freeburg, Illinois
Trout spends just about every three-day weekend at Rend Lake. He brings along his boat and camper and he's all set for fun. But with gas prices as high as they are, his favorite pastimes are getting a little pricey.
"Before we left, I put $115 in the suburban and the boat-- so yeah, it hurts, but you've got to have fun," Trout said.
Trout isn't the only boater on the lake not letting gas costs above $3 a gallon keep him on shore.
"Of course everyone is feeling the pinch of the gas shortage, and yeah--it's the last hoorah for the summer, so I want to take it out one last time before I put it up," said boater Hank Counts of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
"We've noticed we don't have as many people as we normally have over the Labor Day weekend, so there is an impact but right now it's minimal," said Rend Lake Park Ranger Mark Roderick.
Fewer campers chose to enjoy Labor Day at Rend Lake. In fact, park rangers say even some folks who reserved camp sites ahead of time decided not to come after all.
"Normally if someone drops a registration and it's been cancelled, somebody is waiting for a camp site to get in it who doesn't have a reservation, and we haven had that. We still have sites available," said Roderick.
Those who enjoyed the weekend at the lake say it might cost more, but it's worth it. IT.