Lawrence residents will continue the yearly tradition of packing local campgrounds and parks and taking boats out on the lake this Labor Day weekend. Just don’t expect to see as many people swimming in the water.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment issued public health warnings for 11 lakes — including Perry — because of blue-green algae blooms. KDHE has advised lake visitors to watch out for bright green water, a paint-like surface or scum on the water.
R.J. Harms, Army Corps of Engineers project manager for Perry and Clinton lakes, said no sections of Perry Lake would be closed, but visitors should limit their activities to boating and fishing. However, KDHE recommends any fish caught at a lake with algae blooms be rinsed with fresh water before consumption and only the fillet portion should be consumed.
Harms said despite the need for precautions, he still expects Perry Lake to receive between 20,000 and 30,000 visitors. Campsites are already filled at both Perry and Clinton lakes, he said.
Clinton Lake State Park is also near capacity. Sherri Withers, administrative specialist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, said via email that all of the park's 200 campsites with utility hookups were full and only 70 campsites without utilities were still available as of Friday afternoon.
Harms said Clinton and Perry lakes remain just a few feet above their normal water levels. He said current levels are ideal for recreational boating and should make for a pleasant experience on the water.
“It’s looking like it’s going to be a nice weekend to finish off the summer season,” Harms said.
Lake Perry Wild Horse Trails Fundraiser
For those looking to play it safe by staying on land, Perry Lake will host the sixth annual Wild Horse Trails Fundraiser this weekend.
Dewayne Burgess, one of the event organizers, said he expects close to 115 participants this year. He said the Friends of Lake Perry Wild Horse Trails group has raised more than $15,000 since 2012. The funds are primarily used to replace the horse pens around the campground, he said.
Burgess said the group recently started a project to place signs around the trails to help the riders find their way back to camp. He said a visitor once wrote a $100 check marked specifically for this purpose.
“If you’ve ever been out in the trails at Perry, you’d understand,” Burgess said. “The trails kind of wind around and around and around.”
Don't worry about getting lost Saturday, as each group of riders will have a guide. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Wild Horse Campground at Perry State Park, 5441 West Lake Road in Ozawkie, with groups starting the ride around the trails at 10 a.m. Riders will meet back up at 1 p.m. for a catered barbecue meal and a live auction.
The event costs $20 per rider and $10 for nonriders. Participants will not be charged for entrance to Perry State Park.
End of swim season
The Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Kentucky St., will close for the season after Monday. The facility will be open from 1 to 8 p.m. over the holiday weekend. Admission is $3 for children ages 5 to 17, $4 for adults 18 to 59 and $3 for adults 60 and older. Children younger than 5 get in free.
The annual Pooch Plunge will take place 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday to allow dogs a chance to go for a dip before the pool is drained for the season.
The Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive, will reopen Tuesday after being closed throughout August for annual maintenance. The facility will be open from 5:15 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5:45 p.m. Sundays.