Cousins Gavin Smith of Olathe, Drew Sullivan of Topeka, and Kaleb Sullivan of Hutchinson gathered with their extended family this weekend at Marion Reservoir for a weekend of camping and boating fun.
The family has two or three get-togethers a year in May, June, or July at the reservoir. Ben Smith, Gavin’s father, said the reservoir is a good meeting point because it is in between all of the families.
“It’s a good family weekend activity,” Smith said.
Each of them has additional reasons for enjoying the weekends spent at the reservoir.
“It’s got good swimming,” Drew said.
“I like tubing,” Kaleb added.
Smith said the reservoir never gets too crowded, so they can go fast out on the water.
Visitors from out of county aren’t the only ones who appreciate the recreation opportunities at the reservoir. Russ Hake of Marion got into boating 16 or 17 years ago, and he and his family try to go two to three times a month during the summer, weather permitting.
Waterskiing, wakeboarding, and tubing are activities his whole family can enjoy, Hake said.
On Memorial Day, he took his son, Riley, wakeboarding while friends Andy Hansen and family circled on Sea-Doo personal watercrafts. After a short break on the beach at the southwest end of the reservoir dam, the whole group went out again to go tubing.
The reservoir has developed boat ramps with lights and courtesy docks at Cottonwood Point, Hillsboro Cove, Marion Cove, and French Creek campgrounds. There is a fee to use these ramps. There are also undeveloped ramps, which are free to use, at Durham Cove and Broken Bridge.
The reservoir is bigger and better-known, but Marion County Lake is no less fun for recreational boating.
It does carry a 5 mph speed limit for visitors from outside the county, though, which generally limits waterskiing and similar activities.
“The lake is only so big, and if we opened it up to everyone, we’d have a world of hurt,” lake superintendent Steve Hudson said.
For county residents, or for out-of-county visitors who wish to go fishing, the county lake offers two boat ramps and many docks.