Summer was busy at Marion County Park and Lake, director Steve Hudson said Friday.
Permit sales exceeded expectations for the entire year by the end of August, he said. Many visitors hadn’t been to the lake in several years.
“It seems like a lot of people are coming back,” Hudson said.
Summer events had a good year, he said. The county didn’t lose money on any of the events, and they attracted out-of-county visitors. Hudson singled out the Mothers of Preschoolers run.
“Even though it wasn’t county-sponsored, it was very well received,” he said.
The season for events is winding down, though. A chili cook-off on Saturday is the last event until the John Waner Memorial Fishing Derby in March 2010.
Hudson credited advertising in Wichita with increasing the number of visitors. He would like to extend advertising to other markets, including Emporia and McPherson.
The number of visitors has decreased since school started, and boat traffic has been noticeably reduced, he said. Recreational vehicle clubs have remained active, though.
“I do see a lot of drop off among local people,” Hudson said.
With activity tapering down, lake staff is preparing for several improvement projects. Contractors will insulate and drywall the lake hall, which will allow it to be used year-round, Hudson said. Lake staff will paint the interior before requesting bids for trim work.
Plans are in place and work is beginning for a large campfire ring, with seating made from telephone poles.
Hudson is hopeful the county will receive grant money to build a wheelchair-accessible fishing pier with railings. The proposed pier would also be good for children to fish from, he said.
Not wanting to overlook safety, he said the most important success of the summer was the lack of incidents out on the water.