High lake levels impact outdoor recreation sales


EL DORADO, Kan. (KSNW) – High water levels at area lakes are easily seen across Kansas.

One group wishing the lake levels were back to normal: businesses focusing on outdoor hobbies.

Over at 321 Kawasaki in El Dorado, they sell UTV mules, motorcycles and mostly jet skis. However,  with the heavy rain, many people who purchased jet skis over the winter have yet to pick them up from the shop, as water levels have left them unable to use them.

“Our sales were really good over the winter, which was good because, pardon the pun, we would have been dead in the water because it’s too much water now to ride,” sales manager Bette Luinstra said.

Luinstra says a mix of out-of-state sales for jet skis as well as atypical sales have kept them afloat. 

More farmers are coming in to buy mules because their ATVs are getting stuck in muddy fields, and Luinstra says their motorcyclist friends are waiting for any good, semi-dry weather.

“You didn’t have the Memorial Day rush, Fourth of July is going to be intense. They’re gonna be anxious to get on the water,” Luinstra said.

Cody Holloway, a customer from Belle Plaine, had been waiting to pick up his jet ski until 321 Kawasaki could water-test it. But with high water levels in El Dorado, they were unable to safely complete the inspection.

Holloway picked up his repaired jet ski on Tuesday ahead of a trip east.

“It’s actually caused me to drive five and a half hours to Missouri, so I can use their lakes 738 since ours are underwater, literally,” Holloway said.

The Luinstra family races jet skis and typically put on a performance at Riverfest. This year, all water activities were canceled. 

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