HELENA – Summertime, already a busy period for local lakes and campgrounds, becomes even busier near Independence Day.

Some vacation spots are seeing hundreds more visitors than usual.

Greg Axtman, owner at Kim’s Marina and Resort at Canyon Ferry Lake, said he’s been continuously preparing for the influx of campers that the holiday brings. He’s been working on a long-term project to improve the boat docks.

Axtman said there are about seven times more people at his marina than on a normal summer day.

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“They’re out on the water and having and good time. If they do it all safe and happy and have an enjoyable recreational experience, that’s what we’re here for,” Axtman said.

Tawna Thomas and about 20 of her family members from neighboring states come to Canyon Ferry Lake every year.

“We have a camper and a boat, and it’s not too far away to come to Canyon Ferry and we love to ride the boat and stay in the camper. It’s awesome!” Thomas said.

All the visitors means local businesses are also taking measures to handle the customers.

Nancy Rushford, owner at the Dam Bar across the street from Kim’s Marina, said they’ve brought in extra staff and extra food for the holiday.

“[We’re] preparing for a long week,” Rushford said.

Chelsey Landers, a waitress at the bar, said many come from just across the street.

“A lot of people come from Kim’s Marina. We notice a lot of traffic over there,” Landers said.

According to the bar, flatbread and fish and chips are the menu items of choice for many visitors to the lake this year.

With good food, great weather and stunning views, Thomas says it couldn’t get better.

“It’s perfect. You couldn’t ask for anything better than this. I’ll tell you that right now,” Thomas said.

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