The recent rainfall, flooding, and tornadoes have created problems for recreational areas across the region, but Tahlequah has been almost clear of inclement weather, and the Illinois River has been safe for outdoor fun.

Weekends on the Illinois River are usually busy, but business has been lacking for float operators, and they want the public to know that river conditions are ideal for locals and tourists.

Cities along the Arkansas River have seen severe flooding, but Pam Hazen, owner of War Eagle Resort, said not many folks realize the Illinois River water is separate.

"When they hear the rivers are flooded, they just think every river is flooded," Hazen said. "People don't realize that our water comes from northwest Arkansas and it does not come out of the Grand Lake and things like that."

Hazen said the resort's revenue was 63 percent off for the month of May.

Meanwhile, Arrowhead Resort has seen about a third of the revenue it brought in this time last year.

Owner David Spears also said the "perception" that the Illinois must also be in the same condition as the Arkansas River has caused the dip in recent activity.

"This last weekend, we couldn't float because the river was a little bit high, but the Memorial [Day] weekend and the first weekend in June were perfect," he said. "We had great weather, warm outside, and great water levels. I think perception is what hurt us there."

Around 500,000 people visit the the Illinois River every year, making it one of Tahlequah's main tourist attractions. While float operators are not receiving the number of visitors they hope for, Spears said the lack of floaters could impact the city, too.

"It kind of creates a trickle-down effect," Spears said. "There's a lot of businesses that we depend on also. You look at the hotels and motels, convenient stores, fuel, grocery stores - we bring a lot of people out here, and consequently, a lot of people visit those other establishments."

Both Spears and Hazen said the river is currently "perfect" and that people will have a good time floating this weekend on Tahlequah's natural resource.

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