The 4th of July is almost here and it's the time of year when many in Central Texas head for the water. According to Brad Ellis with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, "The recreational season for Lake Belton is done other than a couple of boat ramps and Westcliff and Cedar Ridge have some campsites open in them."The best bet for 4th of July weekend according to Ellis is probably Stillhouse Hollow Lake's Dena Peak Park, unless we see water levels rise before the weekend due to rainfall. Many Bell County residents just can't get access to local lakes due to high water levels. Stillhouse Hollow itself is still 13 feet above normal at 634 feet. Lake Belton on the other hand is now over 25 feet above its normal level. | Army Corps of Engineers | Army Corps of Engineers

If you do end up heading to Stillhouse over the 4th of July weekend, Ellis says:

Our best advice is to go early in the morning and try to carpool. Most parking areas are set up for boats and trailers, so cars parking there tie up boat spots. Try to use other avenues for parking if you have to.

Once the water level at Lake Belton comes down, lots of repairs will need to be made. The Corp says boat ramps must be cleared of debris, then they will work on reopening the campgrounds.

It's not as critical as the flooding in 1991 shown in the photo below, but it's not good either.

All of this, as Ellis points out, has a big impact on the local economy. Gas sales are down, as are boat and kayak rentals, and even local grocery store sales.

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