Archive for Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kansas leaders exploring idea of whitewater park at Clinton Lake

August 5, 2014


Whitewater rafting, zip lines and other high-adrenaline outdoor sports at Clinton Lake State Park are the state’s latest idea to bring tourists to the area.

Officials with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism this week are hosting leaders of the North Carolina-based U.S. National Whitewater Center. Members of the whitewater business have toured sites at Clinton Lake State Park west of Lawrence and have been meeting with interested stakeholders about a possible development.

“Kansas always has been a great state for outdoor recreation, but it has been traditional outdoor activities like hunting and fishing,” said Robin Jennison, the state’s secretary of wildlife, parks and tourism.

Jennison said the state needs to become more aggressive in offering nontraditional outdoor activities to keep up with the changing tastes of tourists. Jennison said a Clinton Lake development would feature a manmade whitewater rafting course, in addition to zip lines, hiking trails and canoeing and kayaking on Clinton Lake. He estimated the entire project could cost upwards of $50 million to develop.

“It probably would be the second biggest thing the state has done for tourism, next to the NASCAR track,” Jennison said. “It really would be an outdoor lifestyle center.”

The idea of a Clinton Lake project, however, is still in its early stages. Linda Craghead, the department’s assistant secretary, said a specific site within the state park hasn’t yet been identified. The state also would have to put out a request for proposals to give all interested parties a chance to participate in the project.

But the department invited members of the not-for-profit U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C., to visit the area and help the state determine the feasibility of a Kansas project. Craghead said it was too early to estimate a timetable for the project to move forward.

Last year, state officials sought proposals from private developers to build a conference center and resort hotel at Clinton Lake State Park. But only one developer submitted a proposal, and the state ultimately decided not to move forward.

Jennison said some potential developers told him a destination attraction, such as a whitewater park, might help improve the prospects of a resort development at the lake.

“We think Lawrence would be ideally suited for something like this,” Jennison said. “Given all the bike trails that already exist, and other outdoor activity, we think the demographics are there.”

The state has met with city officials and also area legislators about the project. Jennison said it is too early to determine whether the city and county commissions would be asked to provide any financial incentives or infrastructure support for the project.

“Right now, we just want to find out if people are receptive to the idea,” Jennison said. “Sometimes when you are dealing with tourism, there are people who don’t want extra people in their area. And this would bring more people to the area.”


Richard Heckler 3 years, 9 months ago

Clinton Lake will run out of water. It keeps dropping. It is over extended as we speak with so many new homes in the area since its' inception. Real estate white collars at it again.

Clinton Lake is not a great candidate. Kansas is a drought state.

Richard Ballard 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm not an engineer.

But I would assume one would have to use huge electrically powered pumps to pump water out of the lake, and treat it with chemicals to kill the green alge and flesh eating bacteria in a new water treatment plant.

Then continuously recycle it back to the top of the 'white water' run with more huge pumps. Then every so often, you would have to drain the rapids and replace the dirty used water with new treated water.

But you couldn't just drain all that chlornated water back in the lake.

So a sewer line would have to be built all the way back to Lawrence to process the used water in one of our two sewer plants.

And the two we have are not big enough. And the one we are building is clear down south of the waukie, on the wrong side of the lake!


Lets build it with a 30 year tax break for the local developers , one, or the other?

And a 'forever' increase in property & state tax to pay for it!

Yea! Thats the ticket!

I'm all over that right there!!!!

Brock Masters 3 years, 9 months ago

If they can build it without destroying the trail system then it might be a good idea.

Mark Rainey 3 years, 9 months ago

The one in NC is over 400 acres. Outdoor concerts, mt. bike trails,Stadium lights for late night use,12 million gallons of "pool" water, 7x700hp pumps, $12 million in direct gov. payments + forgiven loans, free infrastructure, free rent, $7 million/year in operating expenses. It might be great deal for the area, but it would completely remove Clinton from "nature park" status.

Philipp Wannemaker 3 years, 9 months ago

Chad, wasn't April fools day a few months back? Did these clowns not get the memo?

Bob Smith 3 years, 9 months ago

Remember the proposed Wizard of Oz theme park to be built on the old ammunition plant site? This mad scheme is more of the same moonshine.

Philipp Wannemaker 3 years, 9 months ago

But with a much higher proof level. I've drank some very good moonshine in my life, and this moonshine would be off the chart as to proof levels.

Rick Masters 3 years, 9 months ago

You obviously didn't drink any of the water from the ammunition plant site.

Steve Jacob 3 years, 9 months ago

Sad to say, but $50M is not as much as it used to be. Not sure if that's enough to make it a "destination attraction".

Paul Decelles 3 years, 9 months ago

White water? Clinton? Tell me this is an article from the Onion.

Carol Bowen 3 years, 9 months ago

Some states literally guard their water resources. Why doesn't Kansas?

Nick Combs 3 years, 9 months ago

This would be amazing for Clinton and amazing for the area. A positive game-changer for the region, much like the Nascar track.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 9 months ago

Nascar only uses that track twice a year, the rest of the time other racing venues use it.

Joe Blackford II 3 years, 9 months ago

AFAIK, Kansas still ranks 50th in per capita public lands. This has been a long term strategy to attract tourists?

The vast majority of KS public lands were given to the state via Federal CoE flood control projects: large reservoirs, some of which still hold water (Clinton), and others which can no longer adequately supply nuclear cooling water (John Redmond).

Landscape architects were charged with designing recreational facilities in close proximity to what Jennison-types would refer to as "destination attractions," better known as bodies of water. Fed by agricultural runoff, these "lakes" became siltation basins, with water so turbid Kansans chose to vacation at CoE lakes in Missouri & Oklahoma. Remember that KS Governor who honeymooned @ Tan-Tar-A Resort at the Lake of the Ozarks?

Kansans soon realized that their "destination attractions," experienced ebb and flood of their shorlines. IF, it was a rainy May, by Memorial Day the barricades would be up, and the pit toilets moved to higher ground, as the Forest Lawnesque concrete picnic tables & shelters disappeared.

IF, it was a dry spring, there would be mud flats between the campsites and the distant water line, no boat ramps anywhere near water. Tuttle Creek Reservoir has a multitude of recreational facilities abandoned to the realities of flood control.

Yep, Jennison proposes to bring us another "destination attraction," just as poorly thought out as CoE & BLM lakes as recreational opportunities.

Clark Coan 3 years, 9 months ago

Climate change models do project severe and prolonged droughts in western Kansas, but the headwaters of the Wakarusa are in Shawnee County I believe. Still, we have had below normal rainfall for several years in a row. Further, Clinton Lake is fast filling up with silt, the water is muddy and full of atrazine--it's no Lake of the Ozarks. Plus, I'd hate to see the oak-hickory forest in the park destroyed.

Bob Smith 3 years, 9 months ago

Those climate change models have been remarkably inaccurate for the last couple of decades. Just saying....

Paul Decelles 3 years, 9 months ago

Bob you are right. Climate models have been inaccurate...but the tendency is for these models to underestimate climate change issues.


Just saying...

Randall Uhrich 3 years, 9 months ago

Why screw around with an "attraction"? Attendance shows that nobody likes to go to Clinton anyway. It's shallow to start with, always low, silty,and full of agricultural pesticide and herbicide runoff. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig!

Justin Anderson 3 years, 9 months ago

Having just visited the USNWC in Charlotte i can tell you that although we did the rafting and it was a blast, the beauty of the place is all the other activities going on. It was like disneyland for outdoor enthusiasts i could have spent three days their doing all the different activities. it would be without a doubt the best thing to come to Lawrence since 1865. Check out their website before you all get so negative, if you like the outdoors, better yet go to Charlotte and check it out, plan on spending three days.

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