Clean-up efforts at East Park continue in the wake of torrential rains that flooded and temporarily closed the park.
By Monday morning the park was officially off limits. As of Thursday morning most of the park was back in business. By mid-afternoon park officials sent word out that boating and swimming opportunities were again available as well.
“PLEASE be observant of any debris or submerged obstacles that may remain in the water. SWIM AND BOAT AT YOUR OWN RISK,” read the message on the parks department Facebook page.
The announcement came just in time for Father’s Day weekend, as county parks are offering free camping to camping parties that include dads on Friday and Saturday nights.
Initially, progress had an additional hamper — people ignoring barricades and closures and using the park at their leisure.
“It’s getting a lot better, said Parks superintendent Kass Miller. “We’ve gotten the word out. You still have a few people that come in and think they don’t have to abide by the rules, but it’s not near as bad as it was.
“It helps that the water is going down and we’ve been able to open more of the park back up.”
They drug out picnic tables, trees and large limbs. Port-a-potties have had to propped up and moved to solid ground. Many camping areas flooded. Some still are.
“The Willow Bend area is still closed,” Miller said. “Although the water has receded many of the electrical lines were submerged. We have to wait until the water recedes 100 percent. Then we’ve got to have time to pull out the lines and do the necessary repairs to the electrical outlets.”
Most of Camper’s Row had been reopened by Thursday afternoon, though Needle Point remained submerged.
“The roads are open to Bluestem,” Miller said. “But many of the camping spots are still underwater, simply because they are so close to the lake shore.”
Walton’s landing, west of East Lake Rd, was open.
“The jetties (at Walton's Landing) are just now starting to appear. …” Miller said. “One of the (road) loops down there is still closed, because it is so soft and muddy.”
Update on West Park geese
On June 11, The Kansan reported a case of possible theft and abuse of geese at the park, including one gosling that had been shot through the beak with a low-powered rifle. Other birds had been hooked with fishhooks.
“I was just out there (Thursday) morning and we had a couple more geese that were tangled up with fishing line around their legs,” Miller said.
He said it could just be accidental, but with earlier issue they were still going to check for any illegal limb lines.
“We haven’t really seen anything deliberate with the cameras yet,” Miller said. “I think it has been pretty well taken care of, and has come to a stop, but we’re going to keep a vigilant eye out.”
PETA has issued a $5,000 reward for the conviction of this crime.