Flooding and slow-no-wake ordinance keeps boaters away from Fox River over holiday weekend

Flooding and slow-no-wake ordinance keeps boaters away from Fox River over holiday weekend. (WLUK/Amanda Becker)

BERLIN, Wis. (WLUK) -- It was an unusually quiet day start to Labor Day weekend on the Fox River Saturday.

“We have hell or high water in Berlin,” said Mark Vandre, owner of Open Water Paddle.

High water caused the Green Lake Sheriff’s Department to issue a slow no wake order late Friday.

“Well the water lines are usually well within the banks here. You can’t even see the top cleats right now where you tie up,” said Vandre.

FOX 11 spoke to people out along the Fox River today, and they say they've seen no boaters come past, only debris.

For Mark Vandre's canoe, kayak and river adventures business, this is usually one of the busiest weekends of the year.

“For the big weekend, it's kind of sad,” said Vandre.

“You can see that out by the dock is the shoreline but it reached that pretty fast after the first storm,” said Ron Harkes as he showed us the knee deep water in his backyard.

Berlin Ald. Ron Harke has lived on this stretch of the Fox River for 35 years, and he's the commodore at the city's Boat Club.

“Normally a lot of boaters,” he said. “This is the last chance before they put the boat away, get it cleaned up for winter.”

Harke says this is the highest level he's seen the water ever heading into August.

“Yesterday I was measuring about two inches, this river was coming up, about two inches every four hours,” said Harke.

The dock behind Harke's house was overtaken by the rising water. Both public boat landings in the area are under water and the Eureka Lock was shut down, all making for a quiet boating end to summer.

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