Refuge Re-Opens Lake Drummond to Boaters
Incident: Lateral West Wildfire
Great Dismal Swamp
National Wildlife Refuge
3100 Desert Road, Suffolk, Virginia 23434 Phone: 757/986-3705 Fax: 757/986-2353 www.fws.gov/northeast/greatdismalswamp
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: CHRIS LOWIE , REFUGE MANAGER
October 28, 2011
Refuge Reopens Lake Drummond to Boaters
SUFFOLK, VIRGINIA - Almost three months after the initial discovery of the lightning induced Lateral West Fire, the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge will reopen Lake Drummond to boaters as of sunrise on Saturday, October 29, 2011.
Today, Refuge Manager, Chris Lowie, announced the reopening, "Public safety has been a goal from day one, but we now feel it is appropriate to reopen the Lake to boaters accessing from the Dismal Swamp Canal and the Feeder Ditch. "
During the fire, water from Lake Drummond was pumped and diverted into the ditch system to flood the fire zone. Lake Drummond was also a dipping source for aircraft. For public safety concerns, the lake and all access routes were closed to boaters. Working in cooperation with the Refuge, the Army Corps of Engineers had previously reopened the Lake Drummond reservation, the Feeder Ditch, and the Dismal Swamp Canal . With the reopening of the lake, this popular water trail can again be enjoyed by visitors in canoes, kayaks, and small power boats.
Visitors need to be aware that the opening is for water access only. The Interior Ditch pier and the Interior Ditch Road remain closed. The auto tour route to Lake Drummond through the Railroad Ditch entrance also remains closed. The all-weather gravel road is in need of considerable repairs from the heavy equipment access, the pumping operations, and from the fire itself. A reopening date for the auto tour route is still to be determined.
Firefighters continue to monitor the smoldering hot spots. Road and habitat stabilization plans are being implemented. The Lateral West Fire's acreage is estimated at 6,377 and is 100% contained.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge encompasses more than 112,000 acres of biologically rich and environmentally and culturally important lands. It is the largest intact remnant of the vast habitat once covering one million acres of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina.
For more information, please contact the refuge headquarters at 757/986-3705 or visit us on the web at www.fws.gov/northeast/greatdismalswamp.