Department of Wildlife and Parks updates status from May 8 storms

On Friday, May 8, heavy storms hit several areas of the state causing damage to several Kansas state parks. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) staff are still assessing damage as water rises at some lakes and recedes at others, exposing areas to inspection and cleanup.

At El Dorado State Park, many large trees were lost to 80-mph winds, and the entire park was without power for a time. Power was restored to Bluestem Point on Friday afternoon, however, and all power was restored by Sunday. Several camp trailers were damaged or destroyed in the storm. A few shelters and campsite amenities, such as lake tables and grills, were damaged by falling trees, and a number of buildings sustained roof damage.

While storm and tree cleanup continues at the Walnut River Area below the dam, high water and flooded campgrounds remain the major concern above the dam. As of May 12, the water level was nearly 6 feet above conservation pool. Most of the Boulder Bluff Area and campgrounds, 2, 3, and 4 in the Bluestem Area were closed due to high water. Shady Creek boat ramp is currently available to use. Others are being used although water may be above the ramps.

El Dorado State Park is the largest of the 24 state parks in Kansas, occupying 4,000 acres in four units along the eastern and western shores of El Dorado Reservoir.

Cheney State Park, west of Wichita, didn’t receive much storm damage, but high water is still a concern. The lake is more than 4.5 feet above conservation pool and still rising slowly. Most of the east side of the park is flooded and unusable, including campgrounds, day-use areas, and boat ramps. Twenty sites at Lake View Area are useable on the east side, and 20 campsites behind the marina are useable. The west boat ramp is the only useable boat ramp in the park. On the west side, the County Line Boat Ramp and Hobie Beach Campground are flooded and unusable. The Geifer Day-Use Area is flooded, but most other campgrounds on the West side are useable. Woody debris continues building up on flooded roads and campgrounds.

Other parks report the following:

  • Clinton Reservoir is 5 feet above conservation pool, but the high water is receding. Park staff have signed, fenced, and put parking blocks at parking lots to keep people from damaged areas;
  • Crawford State Fishing Lake is now down to normal level. Most damage was associated with large amounts of runoff. The office was flooded and cleanup is underway. Crawford State Park has some damage along roadsides, and the trail has some damage due to extreme amounts of runoff. One camper was damaged due to wind;
  • Cross Timbers State Park reports that Toronto Reservoir is up 26.35 feet. The lower half of the group camping area is closed, but the lake is slowly going down;
  • Milford State Park reports that the reservoir is 1.3 feet above conservation pool, but the park is in good shape;
    Fall River Reservoir is up 23.78 feet, and utilities have been removed at Casner Creek in 12 of 15 sites. Complete assessment of damage will have to wait until the water recedes;
  • Elk City Reservoir is 22 feet above normal, but no boat dock damage has been reported. Woods Shelter sustained damage, but complete assessment will await receding of water;
  • Pomona Reservoir is 6 feet above conservation pool, and boat ramps 3 and 4 are closed. Boat Ramps 1 and 2 are open, and no major damage has been reported as the lake recedes;
  • Kanopolis Reservoir is 5 feet above conservation pool with no problems reported;
  • Tuttle Creek Reservoir is nearly 6 feet above conservation pool, but the park is in good shape. If the lake goes a few feet higher, the Spillway Area boat ramp could be affected; and
  • Wilson Reservoir is approximately 1 foot above conservation pool with no impact to the state park.

Conditions at all state parks may change throughout the week, depending on the weather and staff access to damaged areas. For more information, contact individual state parks before planning a visit there. Park contact information is available here.