Lake Jean Being Drained at Ricketts Glen State Park

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RICKETTS GLEN STATE PARK -- One of the attractions at Ricketts Glen State Park on the Luzerne/Sullivan County line will be off-limits this summer.

Crews have started draining Lake Jean so they can repair a part of the dam.

The gate is open and the water is rushing out the bottom of the dam at Lake Jean. In about six weeks, this popular attraction at Ricketts Glen State Park will be empty.

"It will kind of be sad. Hopefully, they can fill it up quick so we can back up here and keep going," said Dave Williams of Pittston.

Williams had his family there from Pittston for some fishing. That's still allowed until the water is all gone.

The water has to go for a project to replace the control tower on the dam. The park manager says hiding under the water now is a big crack in that tower.

"We're the operators of this dam here and if there's a problem with this dam here, you need a way to operate and control the water you're holding back, so it's an important project for us to complete," park manager Ben Stone explained.

Park staff didn't just pull the plugs on the dam. They're actually regulating how much water they're letting out. They say it will be hard to even notice downstream.

"Things have to be done. They have to work on things. What are you going to do?" said Tom Doty.

Tom Doty and Brian Maurer are there camping. They say there's a lot more to the park than just the lake.

"I don't really need the lake to have fun here. I really prefer to make the falls trail and do all that. That's the real draw for most of us, I think," said Doty.

Park officials stress that the popular falls trail along 21 waterfalls will remain open with water.

While no water in the lake will mean no swimming at the beach this summer and no fishing or boating, an empty lake may actually be a draw for some visitors and the rest of the park will be open.

"Unless they decide to drain the falls, which I don't think they can do, they'll always have that."

The control tower project is expected to be finished this year and the plan is to have a full lake again in 2016.

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