PRATT – With Labor Day Monday, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism assures weekend revelers that state parks will be ready, despite this past spring’s flooding. However, there may be some limitations and Parkgoers urged to check lake conditions before making their trip, KDWPT officials said.
“Boaters, anglers, campers and the like can count on Kansas state parks to be open,” said KDWPT Secretary Brad Loveless. “Earlier this year, significant rains and subsequent flooding left many Kansas state parks damaged and in need of repair, but thanks to the ongoing efforts of dedicated park staff, Kansas state parks are ready for visitors.”
Though select boat ramps, campsites, and swim beaches may still be unusable, many campgrounds and cabins are ready for use, with more sites opening up daily, he said. Select marinas are ready to offer visitors the usual on-the-water amenities, many restrooms and shower houses are open, several trails are ready for exploring, most utilities are back up and running, and primitive sites galore await tents to be pitched.
As for area parks:
• Wilson State Park – Facilities open include: Otoe Area, Yarrow east and west campground, Sunflower, Sagewort, Coneflower, and Otoe boat ramp, but, there is no courtesy dock; Hell Creek Area, Indian Grass primitive, Lovegrass group camp, Big Bluestem east and west, Buffalograss primitive, and Hell Creek boat ramp, but no courtesy dock; and Side Oats primitive, Wheatgrass east and west, Grama east, Switchgrass mountain bike trail, Marina, Dropseed east and west, Marina Cove Toadstools and Little Bluestem primitive.
Flooding has forced the closing of: Otoe Area, Goldenrod; and swim beaches may be under water again as the lake level increases.
• Kanopolis State Park – as of Thursday, all utility campgrounds and the swim beach are open. Buzzard Bay Boat Ramp does not have a courtesy dock. Sand Plum & Sandy Shore campgrounds, and Horsethief hiking and horse trails are still closed. No trail use.
For details on amenities currently offered at each Kansas state park, visit ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/State-Park-Alerts.
To enjoy any Kansas state park for the day, visitors simply need a daily vehicle permit, $5, available at park offices and online at ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/Park-Fees. Traditional campsites can be reserved for as little as $10 per night, and cabins can be reserved, too; prices and availability vary by park, so visitors should contact the park office before making reservations. See ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/Reservations for reservation instructions.
“Regardless of how long park visitors stay, all are sure to enjoy great fishing,” Loveless said. “Increased water levels, flooded vegetation, and low fishing pressure at many Kansas reservoirs have created ideal fishing conditions.”
Park visitors can purchase a fishing license onsite at the park office, at most marinas, and online at ksoutdoors.com.
For more on Kansas state parks, visit ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks.
Corps of Engineers encourages water safety this Labor Day weekend
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District, manages 18 lakes throughout Missouri, Kansas, Iowa and Nebraska, and encourages you not to be a statistic this Labor Day weekend and to wear a life jacket while in, on, or around water.
“Statistics tell us 89% of all water related fatalities at Corps of Engineers lakes were not wearing life jackets,” says Kyle Ruona, Kansas City District public safety program manager.
The Kansas City District urges visitors to be prepared, understand the importance of water safety, to be alert and to expect the unexpected.“Whether kayaking, swimming or fishing, we want all our visitors to exercise good judgment when on or around the water,” says Angelia Lentz, Tuttle Creek Lake natural resource specialist. “We encourage everyone to wear a life jacket and to remember that boating and alcohol are a bad combination. We want all our visitors to have a great time, but the most important thing is their safety.”
Statistics at Corps of Engineers lakes show 38% of water-related fatalities are between the ages of 18-35 with the second highest age group 36-53 at 24% and 88% of all water related fatalities at Corps projects are male.
“Swimming in a lake or river is more difficult than a swimming pool,” says Ruona. “Swimming abilities may be impacted due to waves, current and variable depth. Even the best swimmers can misjudge their skills and abilities while swimming in a lake or river. Reverse the risk by challenging yourself and your friends to wear a life jacket.”
“It’s important to help and encourage others, of all ages, to learn swimming and water safety skills,” says Bradly Wright, Harry S. Truman Lake natural resource management specialist. “Don’t wait for an emergency to happen, prevent it, life jackets save lives.”
When around the water always wear a life jacket and boat responsibly. For more water safety information visit or follow pleasewearit.com.