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Lower lake level won't curb crowd

LAWRENCEVILLE - Lake Lanier is more than a foot lower than it was at the beginning of August, but shallower water doesn't mean there won't be plenty of people celebrating Labor Day weekend at the lake.

Michael Lapina, the chief park ranger, said that at 1,062.64 feet, Lake Lanier was more than 8 feet below its normal summer level of 1,071 feet Thursday.

That means that some boat ramps will be closed and boating will be more difficult in shallow areas, but plenty of people will still be out enjoying the water.

Based on campground reservations, which Lapina said are nearly full, a large crowd is expected at Lake Lanier this weekend.

"We expect to see a lot of people, but we don't expect it to be quite as busy as the Fourth of July or Memorial Day," Lapina said. "Traditionally, Labor Day is a teeter-totter because a lot of kids are back in school."

Lapina said there are 79 usable boat ramps, so while lines may be longer than normal in some areas, everyone should have access to the water. The Army Corps of Engineers has marked some areas where sand bars or reefs have come closer to the surface and would impede boats, but Lapina said boaters should continue to be cautious.

Swimmers, too, should stay in designated areas.

"Folks still need to be really careful," he said.