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(Facebook Photo/Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas)

PHOENIX -- Rising water levels at Lake Powell near Page has given rise to high hopes for that area's economy.

"We're looking at a banner year. The streets have been busy. It's looking very good," Tom Van Meenen with the Page Chamber of Commerce said.

Water is rising a foot each day, thanks to a big snowpack in Colorado that is melting. The city has already seen an influx of boaters. That means plenty of business for motels and restaurants.

The Page economy was hit hard last year on two fronts. First, the landslide that took out a section of Highway 89 just south of town cut off easy access from Flagstaff for a few months.

Motorists have been using Navajo Route 20, which was paved after the landslide to provide a shorter alternate route than the original from U.S. 160 to State Route 98. Second, the government shutdown in the fall kept visitors away from Page with the Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas closed.

"The city barely made it but we did," Van Meenen said.

The rising lake levels have also opened up the area known as Castle Rock Cut, between Warm Creek and Wahweap Marina. It's been inaccessible to boaters for years. Boaters had to go around the Cut, which added an extra hour.

Jim Cross, Reporter

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