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Akaska Held Its Own Drawing Summer Tourists

September 19, 2011, 10:00 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Akaska Held Its Own Drawing Summer Tourists
AKASKA, SD - No one wants to lose money and the Akaska area is thankful it didn't despite a real threat early this year.

When the Missouri River was flooding, communities upstream, such as Akaska, battled misperceptions that it wasn't safe to fish there. But at the end of the summer, it came out on top.

Even windy days near Akaska have been drawing people to the lake to fish this summer. Getting the word out that fish are biting helped and setting the story straight has also made a big difference.

"I was a little bit concerned. I was getting phone calls daily asking were the ramps open, were people able to launch their boats," business owner Teri Carter said.

Some people who heard about flooding on the Missouri River figured it would affect every town along the river including places such as Akaska, but it didn't.

Those calls from concerned people started to decrease within a couple weeks after flooding started. And a month later they had really tapered off.

"People realized that it's good fishing, the water levels are good, the docks are safe. It was really good traffic here this year," Akaska development coordinator Bill Waeckerle said.

Some Akaska events such as the well-known South Dakota Walleye Classic had fewer entries this summer but Waeckerle figures other factors played a part.

Carter owns a bait shop and restaurant in town and is thankful that misinformation didn't stick around and affect tourism any longer than it did.

"Without the fishing industry in town, it would be really hard to make a living," Carter said.

And that's repeated by many businesses up and down the Missouri facing the same battle this summer.

There were also a couple major road construction projects going on in the northern part of the state that could have affected tourism as well.

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