Low water levels on Prineville Reservoir prompt motorboat warnings


All but one boat ramp at Prineville Reservoir are closed due to falling water levels.

Low levels have already caused boat ramp closures at Powderhouse Cove and Jasper Point, and only one lane of the reservoir’s boat ramp in the main day-use area is still open.

The Roberts Bay East and County boat ramps remain open for small, non-motorized watercraft.

The Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Oregon Marine Board advise trailered boats not use the ramp slope and drop off area citing unusually low water levels.

Officials say the reservoir is still safe for canoes, kayaks, paddle boards, and inflatables, and similar-sized watercraft.

“We don’t typically see water levels this low until November or December,” said Prineville Reservoir State Park Manager Chris Gerdes. “It’s going to be a long walk to get to the water.”

Decreased water levels also mean the State Park’s swimming area is no longer protected by floating docks.

“The usual swim area is dry, exposing the rocks and muddy bottom beneath,” Gerdes said.

Other impacts include the campground showers, which are run only on limited hours, and the flush restroom facilities in the day-use area are now closed.

Park officials may impose further limits on flush restrooms and showers if water shortages persist.

Severe drought conditions in Central Oregon have left the reservoir around 40 percent full.

Gov. Kate Brown declared a drought emergency in Crook County on May 5, 2021.

Planning resources are available on the Marine Board’s website for reservoir water levels and an interactive boating access map.


Top Local Stories