Although last week in June finds many parks inundated, hopes rise with lower waters
PRATT -- As the last weekend in June approaches, some state parks in the eastern portions of Kansas are struggling with flooded facilities. Activities at these parks may be limited the weekend of June 28-29, but hopes are high for July -- and Independence Day weekend -- as reservoir water is lowered and parks begin to dry out. All depends on the weather, and if summer rains subside, conditions will continue to improve.

As of June 24, state park campgrounds in the northwest, northcentral, and central portions of the state were in good shape, according the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP). Kanopolis State Park, near Ellsworth, had only one primitive campground affected by high water, so Sandy Shore, a primitive campground, will be closed the last weekend in June.

Perhaps the most anticipated park event of June is Tuttle Creek's Country Stampede, and officials there note that although some campgrounds may be a little muddy, 90 percent of the park is in fine shape for the state's largest country music festival.

In southeastern Kansas, Fall River State Park reports only two campgrounds -- Fredonia Bay and Quarry Bay -- currently open. The only boat ramp open is at Quarry Bay. At nearby Cross Timbers State Park, conditions are much the same. Boaters will have to use the ramp at Toronto Point, and the Holiday Hill Area is open from the west only.

Elk City State Park may have been hit the hardest, much like last year's heavy summer flooding. Day-use areas are limited, and there is no boating access, sewer facilities, or full-utility hookups. Although some areas are open, no reservations are being taken at this time.

Hillsdale, Milford, and Perry state parks also report high water flooding some campgrounds and other facilities. Other state parks appear to be in good shape, but due to unpredictable weather, KDWP staff recommend that visitors phone their favorite parks before planning a trip.

As summer progresses into July, many Kansans look forward to Independence Day weekend -- July 4-6 this year -- and if high reservoirs continue releasing water, most park facilities should be ready for Fourth of July festivities. These events highlight July at Kansas state parks, but other events are planned throughout the month. Many events are educational, and all make park visits more fun.

For more information on state park events, phone individual parks or click the "Event Calendar" on the "State Parks" page of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website, Telephone numbers of all state parks offices may be found on the KDWP website. Click "State Parks" at the top of the page, then "Locations" in the left-hand column.

The following is a list of Kansas state park (SP) events for July:

  • July 4-6 -- Independence Day celebration at Cross Timbers SP's Toronto Point;
  • July 4 -- fireworks display at Pomona SP;
  • July 4 -- fireworks display at El Dorado SP;
  • July 5 -- volleyball tournament and Beloit Eagles fireworks display at Glen Elder SP;
  • July 5 -- Wilson Lake Area Association Poker Run boat race and fireworks display at Wilson SP;
  • July 5 -- Osage County Fireworks Festival at Eisenhower SP;
  • July 5 -- Independence Day fireworks display at Lovewell SP;
  • July 5 -- fireworks Display at Kanopolis SP;
  • July 6 -- fireworks display at Cedar Bluff SP;
  • July 12 -- Kansas Catfish Tournament at Pomona SP;
  • July 12 -- Waconda Lake Association blues festival at Glen Elder SP;
  • July 13 -- Kansas Walleye Association fishing tournament at Eisenhower SP;
  • July 14 -- National Get Outdoors Day nature trivia walk at Pomona SP;
  • July 18-20 -- Vietnam veteran's reunion, campout and water activities for the physically challenged at El Dorado SP;
  • July 19 -- bass fishing tournament at Cedar Bluff SP;
  • July 20 -- sand castle/sculpture contest at Lovewell SP;
  • July 25 -- Prairie Port Concert at El Dorado SP;
  • July 26-27 -- Great Plains Personal Watercraft Race at El Dorado SP;
  • July 26 -- Women In The Outdoors equestrian trail ride at Hillsdale SP; and
  • July 26-27 -- Sunflower State Games Middle of the Trail Distance Riders Association equestrian trail ride at Perry SP.