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Boating ends early due to repairs on dam

The fabridam is made up of inflatable bags, and one of the bags needs to be replaced.

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — Jeff Tomko sets up his paddleboard at Shikellamy State Park near Sunbury.

Normally, he'd take his boat out for a spin at this time of year, but the water level is much too low.

Usually, the fabridam is set up, transforming this section of the Susquehanna River into what's called "Lake Augusta."

But, the dam was deflated early this year for repairs.

"It is certainly disappointing. You know, like to enjoy the boating season as long as you can. I like to go into early October if I can. So, a little disappointed, but it is what it is, I guess," said Tomko.

The dam was taken down five weeks earlier than normal.

The fabridam is made up of inflatable bags, and one of the bags needs to be replaced.

"It is a very unique dam. It's North America's largest inflatable dam. It's just a bit more fragile than what other dams are constructed with," said Andrew Leidich, Shikellamy State Park Manager.

The fabridam is more than 50 years old, and this is the third time since 2017 that the boating season ended early because of repairs.

"It's frustrating, but you know, it's a fabridam, so I guess they have to maintain it. So, it's unfortunate, but I think it has to happen," said Tomko.

Park officials say the repairs should be finished by the end of October so the dam can be ready for next season.

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