Welcome lake visitors: Roads closed, but Osage County is open for Labor Day

Osage County lakes, campgrounds, parks and local businesses are open and welcoming visitors for the Labor Day weekend, but road construction throughout the area could cause some obstacles for travelers trying to get to area destinations.

Visitors to Pomona Lake will likely be those most affected by road construction, with state Highway 268 closed for a bridge replacement project just east of the state Highway 368 and K-268 intersection, approximately 4.77 miles east of the U.S. Highway 75 and K-268 intersection. As K-368 leads directly to Pomona State Park, visitors from the east will need to detour on state Highway 68 through Quenemo and west to U.S. Highway 75, then north through Lyndon back to K-268, from where the state park can be accessed from the west. Travelers from the north, on U.S. 75, will be able to get to the state park on K-268 from the west. Likewise, area businesses located near Pomona Dam and on the east side of the road closure can be reached by following the detour from the west.

Several local roads have been used as unofficial detours around the bridge project, but traffic congestion, dust, and near accidents have caused county commissioners to lower the speed limit to 35 mph on those roads. Travelers in the area are discouraged from using local gravel roads to bypass the bridge project – especially travelers who are unfamiliar with the route, and those in RVs or pulling campers or boats.

The K-268 detour should not create much of an obstacle for visitors to Melvern Lake, as those traveling from the east will be detoured to south of Lyndon, where they can proceed on U.S. 75 to the lake. Travelers from the north on U.S. 75, though, will encounter construction before they even enter the county, with a resurfacing project on a 9.5-mile stretch of the four-lane portion of U.S. 75 beginning south of the Topeka Boulevard intersection in Shawnee County and ending 1.5 miles south of the U.S. 56 intersection in Osage County. Single-lane traffic and reduced speeds are established throughout that project.

But once the travelers get to the Osage County lake of their choice, the parks report they are ready for visitors, even those who might show up at the last minute.

Pomona State Park reports that camping sites with utilities are usually the first to be reserved, but as of Thursday morning there were still some available. If the sites with utilities fill up, the park has many campsites without utilities, almost guaranteeing room to camp.

Pomona State Park also has several activities planned for campers and visitors to enjoy.

At 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, the Friends of Pomona State Park will host their annual fish fry at the Kansa Campground Shelter. The fish fry is a fundraiser for the Friends, and has a suggested donation of $6 for adults and $3 for children under 12. The menu includes fried fish, coleslaw, baked beans water and iced tea.

Also Saturday, prior to the fish fry, the park will unveil its new laundry facility during an open house at 3-5 p.m. The laundry has coin operated machines and is a new feature that is expected to add to the “homey” feeling of the park and take away some of the inconveniences of camping.

On Sunday, at 8 p.m., the Friends will host a movie night at Southwind Shelter House. The movie Eight Below will be shown and admission is free.

Also on Sunday at Pomona State Park will be a free concert in the parking lot at Lighthouse Bay Marina. The band Landrush will be bringing a party to the lake, performing their own take on Southern rock, pop, blues and country tunes. Everyone is invited to bring their chairs, coolers and dancing shoes.

All activities in Pomona State Park require a vehicle park permit.

Most other campgrounds in the area report that campsites are still available as of the Thursday, with most expecting to have space for last minute arrivals. The Corps of Engineers reports that Corps parks at Pomona Lake are in good condition, but reserved camping is filling up. Usually primitive sites remain available even when sites with utilities fill up.

At Eisenhower State Park at Melvern Lake, available campsites with water and electricity were few as of Thursday morning, but sites with electricity only were still available along with primitive sites. Also noted was that the Sailboat Beach Campground offers tent space on a first come first serve basis, but there’s usually no problem obtaining a campsite at Eisenhower.

The Corps parks at Melvern Lake reported that campsites are being reserved quickly, and with all campsites available by reservation, the campgrounds were expected to fill up for the holiday weekend.

Camping is also available at Osage County Fishing Lake, with all sites available on a first come first serve basis.

Even the weather is expected to cooperate with holiday activities, with normal Labor Day summer weather predicted for the next three days. The National Weather Service forecasts for the Lyndon area that Friday will have a high of 98 with a low of 72, sunny with southwest winds at 5-10 mph.

Saturday is also expected to be 98 and heat index readings around 103. South winds of 5 mph are predicted, with a low of 72.

Sunday a 30 percent chance of thunderstorms is predicted with highs in the lower 90s, mostly clear skies with a low of 66.

Monday is forecast to be the first day of a two-day cooling trend with a high of 86 and a low of 62.

Fishing is also reported to be heating up at area lakes. Read fishing reports for Pomona Lake, Melvern Lake and Osage County Fishing Lake here.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas