TOPEKA – Widespread spring rains haven’t dampened the outdoor spirit at Kansas state parks, although there will be impacts to some park facilities in eastern Kansas. However, many state parks in the western portion of the state were mostly unaffected by the rainy weather and are open and ready to welcome visitors. They include Wilson, Meade, Cedar Bluff, Glen Elder, Lovewell, Prairie Dog, Webster, Sand Hills and Historic Lake Scott state parks.
Most state parks in the eastern half of Kansas report that campsite and cabin rental opportunities remain even though some facilities in low-lying areas are not usable, such as campgrounds, boat ramps, courtesy docks, beaches and access roads. The campgrounds and cabins at Clinton State Park are on high ground and are open for visitors, although boat ramps and the beach are closed.
Many state parks are located adjacent to federal reservoirs, some of which are holding water to mitigate downstream flooding. As a result, rising water levels can overrun shoreline areas, including wildlife areas. State fishing lakes do not store water for flood control, so they are largely unaffected by rising water. Crawford State Park in southeast Kansas surrounds a state fishing lake, so that park has been unaffected by flooding.
At affected parks, staff are happy to work with visitors to change their reservations to a dry campsite if available, arrange for another date in the future, provide a gift card good for a future stay or issue a refund. Park staff remind visitors to never drive around barricades into floodwaters. Just like driving on streets and highways, the mantra, “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” also applies to state park roads.
Many state parks have special events planned for the weekend prior to the Memorial Day holiday, so there is plenty for park goers to do. Visitors are encouraged to call park offices for up-to-date information and campsite availability for the holiday weekend before setting out on their trip.
Visitors can also go to kshuntfishcamp.com to check on campsite and cabin availability and make reservations. For information about conditions at individual parks, go to https://ksoutdoors.com/State-Parks/State-Park-Alerts or visit KSOutdoors.com and click on State Parks for other information.