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Lake Powell boating shortcut to be deepened

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PAGE, Ariz. (AP) -- A popular shortcut that allows boaters on Lake Powell to get from launch spots at the lake's largest marina to its most popular beaches and coves will be deepened beginning next week.

Castle Rock cut just north of the Wahweap marina was opened to boaters for the first time in five years last summer as drought conditions eased, but it closed again in November as lake levels again dropped. The shortcut allows boaters at the reservoir on the Arizona-Utah border to shave about 12 miles off a trip to the lake's upriver areas.

Loa, Utah-based Brown Brothers Construction will remove about 15,000 cubic yards of sandstone from the cut, allowing boats to traverse it when lake levels drop. The National Park Service says it plans to deepen it again if lake levels drop further in coming years because of drought.

The area will be closed to boaters while the work is done.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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