By MIKE CORN
You can expect a few inconveniences at Wilson Lake's federal parks this season, now that a number of toilets and a shower house have been removed.
But take heart, they're coming back.
Wilson received federal stimulus money about 18 months ago, according to Nolan Fisher, manager of the parks operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
As a result, they've jerked out toilets and a shower house at the federal campgrounds, Minooka, Lucas and Sylvan.
There are two other campgrounds at Wilson, both managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.
In about a week, Fisher said, the new pre-fabricated facilities will be coming back in to the parks. The shower house in Minooka is being replaced, he said.
"We're upgrading finally," he said. "Some of the facilities haven't been upgraded in 30 years."
The upgrades will cause some conflicts during the upcoming season, but Fisher said the system will be in much better shape when everything is completed.
"Any facility that was demolished will be replaced," Fisher said.
Wilson's federal facilities draw a huge number of people, somewhere in the neighborhood of 350,000 visitors a year.
"We're a lot more than Kanopolis," he said of the nearest lake with federal facilities.
Fisher is also a recent transplant from the Kanopolis system.
"I've been here since the first week in December," he said. "I was a ranger here in the '90s for seven years."
He then spend time at Kanopolis before heading back to Wilson as the manager.
Fisher said park personnel are preparing for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, but said that all of the electrical sites have already been reserved.
"A phone call and a credit card can make a reservation," he said.
A number of primitive sites, for tent camping, remain open.
"All the RV sites are full," he said.
Visitation has been brisk the last two to three years, he said, as a result of the economy.
"So we've been busy."