Heavy usage has prompted Douglas County officials to beef up enforcement of regulations and to increase the amenities at Lone Star Lake.
Douglas County is working on having its own vacation paradise.
Lone Star Lake visitors will find that the county, owner of the 422-acre park 10 miles southwest of Lawrence, has added amenities this year in an attempt to make the park more inviting to families and campers.
``We're trying to make it more of a quiet place,'' said Jeff Jerome, operations manager for the county's department of public works. ``People go out there to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. It's not party central.''
At least, not any more.
Jerome said that a camp host has been hired to help enforce campground rules and curfews. In addition, a sheriff's deputy has been assigned to patrol the park.
``Vandalism is what led to a lot stricter control,'' he said.
Swimming ends at 9 p.m. and the park closes at 10 p.m. for everyone who isn't fishing or camping.
Campers will find 20 prepared campsites, which include electrical and water hookups for recreational vehicles. Those sites rent for $7.50 a night.
In addition the county has installed about 20 fire rings for unimproved campsites and is planning to install more this month. The nightly rate on those sites is $3.
``We get a lot of out-of-county people at the campground,'' Jerome said. ``We even get people camping throughout the week as if it's a vacation spot.''
However, heavy usage of the campground has caused wear and tear on the park. The camp host has bundles of firewood for sale to campers who don't bring their own.
``You can't cut down any trees out there. It's against the law,'' Jerome said, adding that signs and other wooden fixtures also are off limits for campers seeking fire starters.
Camp fires are allowed only in designated areas in the campground, he said. ``Last year it got to the point where we had no grass.''
The county has made several modifications to the playground, including the addition of volleyball and horseshoe courts.
Regular hours also have been restored at the Lone Star marina and concession area. That business was closed for about two weeks last month while county officials renegotiated the contract with their concessionaire.
Under the new agreement, the business will be open to sell food, fishing licenses, boat permits and such items as ice and charcoal from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Jerome said the county may take steps next year to segregate the anglers who don't fish from boats from other users of the park's 198-acre lake.
``Probably our biggest problem out there now is swimmers staying in the swimming area and fishermen staying in the fishing area,'' he said. ``Next year we may just have a fishing dock.''