Main launch ramp at Prineville Reservoir closed

With water levels at Prineville Reservoir uncommonly low, the main boat launch ramp at Prineville Reservoir State Park is about the only place to put a boat in the water. However, the entire park was quiet Sunday, the surface of the reservoir was calm and mirror-like with the exception of the v-shaped wake left by a water bird or the circle of ripples made by a fish feeding on the surface. That solitude will disappear, though, as workers close the ramp and begin a two-month improvement project.
Major construction at the boating facilities at Prineville Reservoir State Park will mean closing the park's main boat ramp for awhile.
   The improvements will include construction of a two-lane concrete surface ramp, replacing the asphalt ramp that has served boaters for the past 40 years. A new guide rail system will also be installed, along with new 60-foot floats which will replace the facility's 40-foot boarding floats.
   Closing of the ramp, which is expected to last through mid-January, will have an impact on all boating access to the reservoir. Located at the park's main day-use area and campground, the ramp has been the only operable one on the reservoir since late summer because of this year's low water level.
   "Boaters will find the improvements far outweigh any inconveniences caused by the closure," Park Manager Bill Crawford believes. "Timing is critical, though. Construction must occur rapidly at peak low-water conditions to avoid performing work in the water and disturbing fish habitat.
   The Oregon parks and Recreation Department will manage the project in cooperation with the US Bureau of Reclamation and the Oregon State Marine Board. Prineville Reservoir State Park is 16 miles from Prineville on the northwest shore of the body of water.