Wellington residents don't have to travel far for outdoor recreation this summer. This is the third in a series of stories highlighting places to go for family fun or just peaceful times.
"Even thought the summer of 2011 was not a good year for the Wellington Lake because of drought and heat," stated Jeremy Jones, Director of Public Works, "we have seen an encouraging increase over the past four years."
Jones described the usage of our local lake as "good" even with few camping spots left over holiday weekends such as Memorial Day.
"We always like to see new people enjoying the Wellington Lake," Jones added. "More people means more dollars for lake additions and improvements."
Recent improvements at the lake include the reconstruction of the old dam made possible through a grant from the State of Kansas. New piers, picnic tables, and fire rings have been added as well.
Camping at the lake is "open" which means there is no system for making reservations. Campers must purchase a vehicle permit and pay a camping fee. Vehicle permits are $2 per day and $10 annually for Sumner County residents.
Camping fees are $7 daily for a site with electricity and water and $185 monthly. Primitive campsite fees are $3 per day plus vehicle permit.
The Lake Office is currently located on the west side of the lake and in the warehouse. Later this summer the office will move to the location of the old bait shop which will be more convenient for visitors. Campers arriving after hours may pay by drop box located just outside the office or drop box located by the east side bathroom.
Jones encourages all campers to register promptly so lake staff can contact them in a weather emergency. The storm shelter is on the west side of the lake in the bottom of the old water treatment plant just east of the current office.
The swimming beach is on the west side of the lake and near the bathrooms. A vehicle permit is required for swimming as well as boating on Lake Wellington.
Local Boy Scouts are responsible for the designation of the walking trail northwest of the lake. The trail is open to the public as well as deer, birds, and a couple of bald eagles
On any given summer day motor boats and jet skis can be found zipping along on the lake. Jones reminds people to be very careful and considerate of others in and near the water. There should be "no drinking" and "no wake areas" should be observed.
Wellington Lake ranks high in Kansas for walleye, catfish, flathead, and crappy. There are also some wipers, fish that are noted for being "fighters" and challenging to catch. No permit is needed for fishing other than a valid Kansas Fishing License.
Page 2 of 2 - The speed limit around the lake is 20 mph for safety and dust reasons. Tickets will be issued for offenders by Wellington Police or Lake Staff.
Jones hopes that everyone can keep the lake areas clean and use them appropriately. Messes lessen the camping and other lake experiences for all.
"Let us know if there are problems at the lake," Jones requested.
One lake improvement on the books for 2013 is the renovation of the eastside bathrooms. For more information, cityofwellington.net.