Chat about water safety, lake activities

June 21, 2007

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

On the first official day of summer, Kipp Walters, park ranger with the Corps of Engineers at Clinton Lake, will answer questions about water safety, as well as recreation opportunities at the lake.


Thanks for joining us for today's chat. I'm Mindie Paget, and I'll be moderating the discussion. Happy Summer Solstice! We're joined by Kipp Walters, a park ranger at Clinton Lake. He'll be answering questions about water safety, as well as recreation opportunities at the lake. Thanks for being here, Kipp.

Kipp Walters:

Hi. Thanks for having me sit in on this Mindie.


What are the legal ages to operate a motorboat with/without adult supervision? What are the licensing requirements, if any, for boat operators, and what are the registration requirements for motorized and non-motorized boats?

Kipp Walters:

Persons 12 and younger may not operate a vessel unless under direct supervision of a parent or other person over 17 yrs. of age.
Persons born after 1 January 1989, must complete an approved boater safety educatio course in order to operate a vessel on public waters of Kansas.
Any vessel that is powered, other than by human power, needs to registered with Kansas.


We took our boat out to Clinton last weekend. We always use the dock close to the marina. It was ridiculously crowded. People were coming and going from every direction to get their boats in the water and parking everywhich way. There was no patience and lots of drinking. Trash was being thrown everywhere and people were peeing in the parking lot next to the big blue dumpsters. The foul language was abundant. When we finally got our boat in the water it wasn't much better. We even witnessed two boat loads of people ready to engage in a physical altercation at any moment. Later, after our boating adventure we drove through campground # 3. We saw a car driving down the road with a tube on the hood and a guy riding in the tube. During all this we did not once see a park ranger. Do the park rangers patrol the water at all and how often do they patrol the boat ramps and campgrounds? I want to be able to take my children to Clinton, but if we continue to run into these situations, we will be going elsewhere.

Kipp Walters:

I should also mention that people should contact the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks at Clinton State Park (785-842-8562), KDW&P Natural Resource Officers at (785-542-1839) or (785-749-1437) or visit the KDW&P website at for detailed information on boating laws.

Kipp Walters:

It certainly does sound like you witnessed some sights at Clinton Lake last weekend.
I'll start off by saying that there are 10 boat ramps at Clinton Lake. #1 - #3 are located in Clinton State Park. #4 - #7 are located in Bloomington Park, on the west side of the lake. #8 - #10, are located on the Coon Creek, Wakarusa River and Rock Creek arms of the lake, respectively. #8 - #10 are a bit more rustic, and more suited for small fishing boats.
We do ask for people to be patient and to follow all of the rules.
There are water patrols, partially done by the KDW&P Natural Resource Officers, and partially by Corps of Engineers Rangers. I'm certain that there State Park rangers on duty, during the weekend, but I work mainly in the Corps of Engineers parks.
If you ever experience trouble at Clinton Lake, you can always call the Douglas County Sheriff's Office (dispatch) at 843-0250 and they will contact the appropriate agency's rangers so that they may check into the problem.


What are the penalties for fishing without a license? Does everyone have to obtain a license, or are there exceptions?

Kipp Walters:

I don't know the exact penalty for fishing without a license, but I believe it is quite a penalty.
Everyone, between the ages of 16 and 65 must obtain a fishing license. I don't know all of the exceptions, if any, but would refer you to the KDW&P website at for specific rules on fishing licenses.


Does anyone at Clinton Lake rent out boats for a day?

Kipp Walters:

Yes. The Clinton Marina, in Clinton State Park, does provide boat rentals. The phone number for the Clinton Marina is 785-749-3222. They are open every day, except for Monday.


Where are safe areas to swim at Clinton Lake?

Kipp Walters:

There are two swimming beaches at Clinton Lake. The Clinton State Park has a beach located just east of Campground #3. Kansas State Parks require a vehicle permit for entry into state parks, and then the beach is free of charge. There is also Bloomington Park Beach, located on the west side of Clinton Lake. The fee to use this beach is $1/person up to a maximum of $4/vehicle. Both beaches are "swim at your own risk", but are protected from boats by restrictive buoys. Both beaches have sand and can be quite busy at times.
Both areas also offer an Annual pass which can be a savings if the beaches are frequently visited. For information on Clinton State Park Beach, call Clinton State Park at 785-842-8562. For information on Bloomington Beach, call the Clinton Lake Corps of Engineers at 785-843-7665.


How much does it cost to get into the lake, and once there, is alcohol allowed?

Kipp Walters:

The majority of the Clinton Lake can be visited, free of charge. If a person enters the Clinton State Park, they must purchase a vehicle permit (daily-approx. $4.20/annual-approx. $26.00) and then they won't have any more fees unless they camp overnight. The Corps of Engineers doesn't charge anything to enter the parks at Clinton Lake, but we do charge a "day use" fee for launching boats at boat ramps #5, #6, and #7 (1 April-30 October) of $3.00, and a Bloomington Beach "day use" fee of $1/person (13 and older) up to a maximum of $4.00/vehicle. People can purchase an annual "Day Use" pass for $30.00 which covers Corps of Engineers boat ramps and swimming beaches nationwide.
Clinton State Park allows 3.2% (grocery store) beverages.
The Corps of Engineers allows alcohol, except for kegs, at all areas but Woodridge Park. Woodridge is considered a "no alcohol" area. We also DO NOT allow alcohol at Bloomington Park Swimming Beach any longer. People may have alcohol in the picnic area surrounding the beach parking lot, but not in the parking lot or on the beach.


That's all we have time for. Thanks for your questions, and thanks, Kipp, for taking time to answer them. Enjoy the sunny day!

Kipp Walters:

Thanks again for letting me participate. Those were great questions.


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