Category Archives: Outdoors

Corps waives day use fees at recreation areas on Veterans Day

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced it will waive day use fees at its more than 2,850 USACE-operated recreation areas nationwide in observance of Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2019.

The waiver covers fees for boat launch ramps and swimming beaches. The waiver does not apply to camping and camping-related services, or fees for specialized facilities, such as group picnic shelters, and events. Other agencies that manage recreation areas on USACE lands are encouraged, but not required, to offer the waiver in the areas that they manage.

USACE began the Veterans Day fee waiver in 2006 as a way to honor the men and women who have served our nation and the armed forces.

Agencies warn of seasonal increase in vehicle-deer crashes

TOPEKA – Mating season and the quest for more secure habitat have deer on the move this time of year, increasing the chances of deer-vehicle collisions.

Typically, the greatest number of deer-vehicle crashes are in mid-November when the rut, or mating season, peaks. In addition to the rut, deer are also on the move in mid-fall seeking new food sources and shelter as crops are harvested and leaves fall from trees and shrubs, leaving them less secure than in their summer habitats.

“Wet weather this year may cause some deer to cross roads in new places and the additional vegetation growth could make deer harder to see until they are in the road,” said Levi Jaster, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism big game coordinator. “The approaching breeding season increases deer movement, and the cooler weather, along with young deer dispersing to find new home ranges, mean more deer may be crossing the roads.”

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, 10,734 (16.5 percent) of the 64,933 vehicle crashes reported in 2018 were deer-related (crashes in which a deer and vehicle actually collided, or the presence of a deer was a contributing circumstance). Although crashes involving deer occur throughout the year in every Kansas county, the highest number of crashes typically occur where there are the most vehicles. Sedgwick County had 418 deer-vehicle crashes reported in 2018, the most of any county, while Butler County followed with 384 reported deer-vehicle crashes.

“In addition to potentially causing human injuries and loss of life, deer collisions often cause significant vehicle damage that can lead to large expenses for the vehicle owner if not properly insured,” said Shawn Steward, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Kansas. “Of the animal strikes reported by AAA Insurance policy holders during the five year period between 2014 and 2018, the average cost per claim was nearly $4,300.”

Growing vegetables, growing minds

Receiving a check of $10,000 from the Bayer Fund are Kim Dayhoff and Linda Carson, Brian Garrett, Bayer Fund representative, USD 456 Supt. Joe Sample, and MdCV Elementary School Principal Twila Wollenberg; not pictured, Barb Roberts.

While young minds are growing every day at Marais des Cygnes Valley Elementary School, students will soon be growing their own vegetables, due to a grant from a major agriculture products company.

On Oct. 3, 2019, the school was presented a $10,000 grant from the Bayer Fund, formerly the Monsanto Fund, a philanthropic arm of Bayer. The grant, written by USD 456 faculty Kim Dayhoff, Linda Carson and Barb Roberts, will fund a project called “Growing Food for Growing Minds” that includes three vertical aeroponic growing towers. The tower gardens, with two at the elementary school and one at MdCV Junior-Senior High School, are designed to provide year-round gardening of vegetables for all students and staff to enjoy. A portion of the funds will be used to purchase Chromebooks for the elementary students, and for field trips for the students to an apple orchard and pumpkin patch.

Brian Garrett, Bayer Fund representative, was on hand to present the grant check to USD 456 Superintendent Joe Sample and MdCV Elementary Principal Twila Wollenberg.

Army Corps of Engineers waives fees on National Public Lands Day, Sept. 28

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will waive day use fees normally charged at boat launch ramps and swimming beaches at recreation areas nationwide in recognition of National Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019.

The waiver does not apply to camping and camping-related services, or fees for specialized facilities such as group picnic shelters. Other agencies and partners that manage recreation areas located on USACE lands are encouraged, but not required, to comply with this waiver of day use fees in the areas they manage.

In addition, volunteers who participate in one of USACE’s National Public Lands Day activities will be issued a fee-free coupon if the volunteer site is participating in the coupon program. Volunteers should check with their local USACE project for more information. The fee-free coupon is valid for one year from date of issue and may be used for one day of entrance or day use fees at any participating federal agency’s park, forest or recreation area that charges either of these types of fees.

USACE has been involved with National Public Lands Day since its inception in 1994 and has consistently been one of the event’s largest providers of sites and volunteers. USACE manages more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states. With 90 percent of these projects located within 50 miles of metropolitan areas, USACE sites provide a wide range of outdoor recreation opportunities close to home.

Flood warning issued for Salt Creek near Lyndon to begin Labor Day holiday

Labor Day weather forecast graphic from NWS Topeka.

The National Weather Service in Topeka has issued a flood warning for Salt Creek near Lyndon. The warning is in effect this morning, Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, until late tonight.

At 9:31 a.m. Friday, the stage was 7.4 feet; flood stage is 10 feet. Minor flooding is forecast, with the creek expected to rise above flood stage by this afternoon and continue to rise to near 10.2 feet late this afternoon. The river is forecast to fall below flood stage by this evening.

At flood stage, minor low land flooding begins in farm field just west of the U.S. Highway 75 bridge at the south edge of Lyndon.

Learn the ins and outs of tree planting

Have you ever wondered when the best time to plant a tree is? Or how to properly prune a tree, but didn’t know who to ask? Frontier Extension District and Lyndon Library will host a public meeting on tree planting and maintenance at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17, 2019, at the library.

The presentation will cover when to plant trees and selecting trees from the nursery. Selection is all about planting the right tree in the right place. With the tough growing conditions that Kansas offers, selecting the right tree is often one of our biggest challenges.

Also covered will be mulching and its purpose, and the importance of pruning and how and when to do it.

The meeting will be at the Lyndon Library, 127 E. Sixth St., Lyndon, Kan.

Local Master Gardener program set for new year; apply now

The Frontier Extension District is now taking applications for the Master Gardner training this winter. The Master Gardener program is for people who enjoy working in the garden, flower bed or your lawn, and enjoy people, learning new things, and helping out in their community.

In the program, participants learn about plant biology, soils, flowers, trees and shrubs, lawn care, fruits, vegetables, indoor plants, insects, diseases and pesticides. The educational information can benefit participants and their neighborhoods.

The training will be 9 a.m.-5 p.m. every other Saturday starting Jan. 11, 2020, running until March 21. Lunch will be provided by current district Master Gardeners.

Blast back to the past at Going Retro vintage car and camper show

“Lil Dot,” a vintage Scotty camper owned by Dave and Julie McBee, was named the best renovated at the 2018 Going Retro show. Photo thanks to Friends of Pomona State Park.

Coming this weekend, it’ll be a blast from the past at Pomona State Park during the sixth annual Going Retro Car, Motorcycle and Vintage Trailer Show. The annual show, which is free except for the cost a park permit, features vintage campers, recreational vehicles, and all types of motorized vehicles.

The show gets underway 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019, with 55 campers already signed up for exhibit. In addition, the car show attracted about 125 exhibitors last year, and a good weather forecast for Saturday is expected to bring out a fleet of classics. Motorcycles were added to the show this year. Visitors can walk around and inside of many of the travel trailers to see how campers in yesteryear “roughed it” in the great outdoors. Spectators can cast their ballot for favorites in each category, cars, motorcycles and campers.

The show is a family-friendly event in the great outdoors. Visitors are invited to dress in their favorite vintage outfits for the car and camper show, and the 7 p.m. sock hop.

The event is on the east side of Pomona State Park at the Osage, Four Winds and Cedar Winds campgrounds. Signs will guide to all activities. Food vendors and concessions will be on site. The state park charges a $5 vehicle fee for a day permit, $3.75 for seniors, for those who don’t have a vehicle permit.

The show is hosted by Friends of Pomona State Park, which uses the funds from the show and concessions to make improvements in the park.

Algae blooms affect lakes statewide

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, has issued public health advisories for Kansas lakes, including two in Osage County.

Warnings include:

  • Big Eleven Lake, Wyandotte County (unchanged)
  • Jerry Ivey Pond, Saline County (unchanged)
  • Marion County Lake, Marion County (unchanged)
  • Gathering Pond near Milford (Hatchery Supply Pond), Geary County (unchanged)
  • South Lake, Johnson County (unchanged)
  • Lebo Kids’ Pond, Coffee County (unchanged))
  • Westlake in Gage Park, Shawnee County (upgrade from 7/25)
  • Melvern Outlet Pond, Osage County (new)
  • Melvern Swim Pond, Osage County (new)

When a warning is issued, KDHE recommends the following precautions:

  • Lake water is not safe to drink for pets or livestock.
  • Lake water, regardless of blue-green algae status, should never be consumed by humans.
  • Water contact should be avoided.
  • Fish may be eaten if they are rinsed with clean water and only the fillet portion is consumed, while all other parts are discarded.
  • Do not allow pets to eat dried algae.
  • If lake water contacts skin, wash with clean water as soon as possible.
  • Avoid areas of visible algae accumulation.

Blooming algae closes Melvern Outlet Park River Pond and swim beach

MELVERN, KS – The U.S Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District announced Thursday a hazardous algae bloom at the Outlet Park River Pond and Outlet Park swim beach downstream of Melvern Lake. Kansas Department of Environment and Health has confirmed that cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae with low levels of the toxin microcystin, have been identified in the two ponds below Melvern Dam.

Hot and sunny weather conditions combined with high nutrient levels create ideal conditions for harmful algae bloom growth. Swimming is not allowed in the Outlet Park River Pond and all wading and contact with algae is discouraged. The Outlet Park Swim Beach is currently closed to all public use.  The primary risks for this scenario are for pets that may come in contact with the algae accumulated near shore and floating on the water surface.

Blue-green algae blooms are unpredictable. They can develop rapidly and may float or drift around the lake, requiring visitors to exercise their best judgment. If there is scum, a paint-like surface or the water is bright green, avoid all water contact and keep pets away.

Pet owners need to be particularly mindful of the presence of blue-green algae. Dogs are highly susceptible to algae toxins and frequently ingest concentrated toxins from shoreline areas. Pets that swim in or drink water affected by a harmful algal bloom, or eat dried algae along the shore, may become seriously ill or even die.

The present algae bloom is isolated to the Outlet Park River Pond and Outlet Park Swim Beach located below Melvern Lake Dam. Boat ramps and lake activities are not affected. Marinas, lakeside businesses and park camping facilities are open for business. Drinking water and showers at parks are safe and not affected by algae blooms. Boating and fishing are safe under current conditions. It is safe to eat fish caught during a harmful blue-green algae outbreak, as long as the fish is rinsed with clean water. Consume only the fillet portion and discard all other parts. Hands should also be washed with clean water after handling fish taken from an affected lake.

Melvern Jr. Highline 4-Hers enjoy summer camp at Rock Springs

By Bella Reeser, Club Reporter

From June 17-20, 2019, nine members of the Melvern Jr. Highline 4-H Club received an experience of a lifetime when they attend Rock Springs 4-H Camp. Club members were able to enjoy four days of beautiful weather at camp, participating in archery, rock climbing, swimming, sling shots, crawdad fishing, learning about nature, horseback riding, canoeing, team building, and so much more. With these wonderful experiences the club members are excited to go back next year.

Area swimmers keep busy with summer meets

On Saturday, June 29, 2019, at Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka, Kan., the annual Sunflower State Swimming Games were held. Swimmers from all over the state came to compete in different strokes and distances. Two local swimmers, Martir Ramos and Austin Vest, both members of the Lyndon Swim Team, were competitors at these games and came out successful. Martir placed first in the 200 Individual Medley, third in the 50 Breaststroke, and fourth in the 100 Breaststroke. Austin placed third in the 50 Backstroke and fifth in the 100 Breaststroke. Both boys will finish their summer strong swimming for the Lyndon swim team.

Lyndon hosts annual meet

At the beginning of every summer, swimmers from around Osage and Coffey counties begin practicing and preparing for a summer full of swimming and competing. These area teams, consisting of members from Overbrook, Osage City, Lyndon, Lebo, and Burlington, gather together every Saturday to compete in 80 different events challenging the swimmers in their different strokes and distances.

On July 6, at the Lyndon City Pool, hundreds of swimmers and spectators gathered there to enjoy a morning full of competition.

Lyndon recreation workers who made the Lyndon swim meet possible included, front from left, Cheyanne Kline, Abby Criqui, Aubrey Beyer, and Dalton Fitch, back, Josey Weimer, Mackenzie Hull, Stephen Steggs, Brooke Addleman, Shyann Huffmier, Nicole Baker, and Kyle Baker.

Photos and information thanks to Lisa Reeser.

Mosquitoes interrupt summer: KDHE recommends bite prevention

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment recommends Kansans take preventive measures against mosquito bites, as floods throughout the state have caused an increase in mosquito populations. Mosquito surveillance in Reno, Sedgwick and Shawnee counties has shown an increase Culex species mosquitoes which can transmit West Nile virus and other viruses that can affect humans. This species of mosquitoes is most active at dawn and dusk.

“West Nile virus can be spread to people through bites from infected mosquitoes, but it is not contagious from person to person,” said KDHE Secretary Lee Norman MD. “Symptoms range from a slight headache and low-grade fever to swelling of the brain or brain tissue and, in rare cases, death.”

Since 2002 there have been 677 cases and 35 deaths in Kansans from West Nile virus. To date, there have been no cases of West Nile virus reported to KDHE in 2019. People who have had West Nile virus before are considered immune. Cases are most common from mid-July through late September.

KDHE has developed West Nile virus risk levels to help guide prevention efforts for both communities and individuals. These risk level reports will be posted weekly at All six regions of Kansas are currently at moderate risk level.

KDHE recommends the following precautions to protect against West Nile virus:

Stomach ache serious, yet common horse ailment from many causes requiring awareness

Colic in horses in simple terms means a bellyache. It is a much more complicated and serious issue, according to Dr. James Moore, University of Georgia veterinarian, Athens, Ga.

“Colic in horses is defined as abdominal pain, or most simply a stomach ache. But it is a clinical sign rather than a diagnosis,” Moore said.

The term colic encompasses all forms of gastrointestinal conditions which cause pain as well as other causes of abdominal aches.

“Most common forms of colic are gastrointestinal in nature and are most often related to colonic disturbance,” Moore clarified.

There are a variety of different causes of colic, some of which can prove fatal without surgical intervention.

“Colic surgery is usually an expensive procedure as it is major abdominal surgery, often with intensive aftercare,” the veterinarian said.

An indication of colic is when a horse frequently looks at and even nips at the flank.

Among domesticated horses, colic is the leading cause of premature death. “Incidence of colic in the general horse population is between 4 and 10 percent in their lifetime,” Moore said.

Numerous clinical signs are associated with colic. The most common include pawing repeatedly, kicking, looking at the flank, lying down, rolling, and curling the upper lip.

Other indications of colic are repeatedly raising a rear leg, kicking, sweating, arching the neck, and stretching out.

Additional apparent colic signs include straining to defecate, distention of the abdomen, loss of appetite, depression, and decreased bowel movements.

“It is uncommon for a horse with colic to exhibit all of these signs,” Moore said. “Although they are reliable indicators of pain, particular signs do not indicate which portion of the gastrointestinal tract is involved.”

A diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment begun only after thoroughly examining the horse.

Girl Scouts plan a day of living on the prairie

Girl Scouts explore a cool creek on a warm day during a past campout. Courtesy photo.

Camp on the prairie with the Girl Scouts. Sleep in the loft of a barn built in 1915 at Pioneer Bluffs, a historic Flint Hills ranch.

At the Girl Scout Prairie Weekend, 10 a.m. July 20 to 11 a.m. July 21, 2019, at Pioneer Bluffs, scouts will enjoy exploring a creek, old-fashioned games, crafts, square dancing, and songs around the campfire.

Campers will cook supper, s’mores and breakfast over a fire. Scouts should bring a sack lunch for Saturday, but all other meals and snacks will be provided. Participants earn one hour of community service and an event patch by attending the camp.

Teeing off: Osage City golf course open to all

By Richard Burkdoll
Osage City Golf Course President

The question I get asked most is how is the golf course since Greatlife took over. The answer is the golf course is in great shape and is still Osage City Golf Course! Greatlife doesn’t run your golf course. A board of directors elected by the members of the golf course has run the course for many years. Elections are held each year in October for six of the members. The other three members come from each of the clubs – men’s, women’s, and couples.

The city of Osage City has always owned the course. Originally it was a semi-private course. The course is public, open for anyone to play, and has been for years. The agreement the city has with Greatlife allows Greatlife’s members to play here and our members to play any of their courses for free or for a reduced cost.

Kansas invites all to test their luck during annual free fishing days this weekend

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has announced that anglers can fish without a Kansas fishing license at public waters during the state’s “Free Fishing Days”, June 1 and 2, 2019.

Each year, KDWPT designates one weekend when everyone can fish without a Kansas fishing license. All you need is a pole and a place to go! Free Fishing Days celebrates National Fishing and Boating Week, a week dedicated to recognizing the importance of recreational boating and fishing.

Flooding at some lakes and state parks shouldn’t derail fishing plans. There are still many great opportunities to fish at lakes large and small. Many more Kansas state parks are open for business than are closed. Fisheries biologists report that high water gives fish more habitat to exploit, so fishing may be better when the water is higher. As always, exercise caution around high water and respect barricades.

Survey teams deploy to assess storm damage in Osage and Douglas counties

In Osage City, following a thunderstorm that dumped rain and produced tornadoes across northeast Kansas Tuesday, citizens help a police officer stranded in high water on a city street. Photo thanks to Joann Baumann.

TOPEKA, Kan. – The National Weather Service has reported a damage survey team was deployed this morning, Wednesday, May 29, 2019, to assess tornado damage from Tuesday’s storms across Osage and Douglas counties. Damage assessments are expected to be completed later today.

NWS has forecast potential for a few isolated storms to develop across far east central Kansas this afternoon into early this evening. Any storms that develop may be strong to severe with hail and strong winds being the primary hazards.

Flooding on area rivers is expected to continue today through tonight, and is likely to persist into the weekend.

Rains and flooding bog down local state parks and Corps campgrounds

Earlier this week, Corps staff closed the main road just south of the Wolf Creek Park entrance, at Pomona Lake, and asked visitors to not drive around the barricade. USACE photo.

TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has reported that recent frequent heavy rains are impacting some state parks in eastern Kansas. High water levels at area Corps reservoirs have flooded campgrounds, overtopped roads, closed boat ramps and beaches and dampened visitors’ enthusiasm for any outdoor activities.

In Osage County, campgrounds have been impacted at Pomona Lake and Melvern Lake due to high levels of retained water at those lakes. (See related story: Corps plans public meeting on high water conditions at Pomona and Melvern lakes) Recent rains have also affected the trail conditions on the Flint Hills Nature Trail.

Eisenhower State Park at Melvern Lake remains open as of May 22, 2019. The lake is 16.01 feet above conservation level, and outflow is 20 cubic feet per second minimum. The lake is projected to be 18.8 feet above conservation level by May 30. Park staff is shutting down all the electrical connections in Blackjack and Abilene campgrounds. Almost all primitive sites are underwater, and the beach and beach restroom are closed.

Corps of Engineers campgrounds closed at Melvern Lake include:

  • Arrow Rock: Sites 8-10, 12-15, 19 and 35-45 are closed through June 30, 2019; sites 6 and 7 are closed through June 20.
  • Coeur d’Alene: Sites 9-32 are closed through June 30.
  • Turkey Point: Sites 1-8 and 23 are closed through May 30; sites 9-22 are closed through June 30; site 30 is closed through May 28 (closure extension to come); Group Camp closed through June 30. More closures are expected in the Turkey Point Campground to come in the following days. Arrow Rock and Coeur d’Alene closure extensions possible. Should these sites come out from under water and be cleaned up before their closure end date, they will be opened up for reservations.
  • Outlet Park remains unaffected by this flood event.
  • All boat ramps have stopped charging fees and the courtesy docks have been pulled.

At Pomona Lake, Pomona State Park is open. The lake is 23.26 ft above conservation level, and outflow is 15 cfs minimum. The lake is about 9 feet from going over the spillway. The lake is projected to 26 feet above conservation level by May 31. The marina started moving all houseboats off the water as of Wednesday, and also shut down all electrical service to the marina area.

Big Bear Campground is closed. The Kansa shower building is closed. Staff is closing six sites on the marina side of Kansa Campground and all Kansa primitive sites. The park road to east side of the park is closed; the back gate is open on the county road.

Corps campgrounds closed at Pomona Lake include:

  • Wolf Creek Park – All sites remain closed and will be through the weekend. All reservations for Memorial weekend have been cancelled and fully refunded.
  • Michigan Valley Park – Loops A, B, C, D, E, F and G are closed, and will remain closed through the weekend.
  • Adams Grove and Cedar Park remain closed. Coon Creek crossing is still closed and will likely be through the weekend. All Corps boat ramps remain closed.

The Flint Hills Trail remains open with the surface firm in most locations.

Corps plans public meeting on high water conditions at Pomona and Melvern lakes

LYNDON, Kan. – Due to above average water levels being held in Melvern Lake and Pomona Lake, both in Osage County, Kan., the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Kansas City District and lake project personnel will hold a public meeting 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 30, 2019, at Lyndon High School auditorium, 421 E. Sixth St., Lyndon, Kan.

District personnel will present a brief summary of current conditions, a description of how the Corps manages the system, the impacts on recreation and stakeholders, expected releases and overall outlook. Attendees will be invited to ask questions.

Frontier Extension plans June wildflower tour in Anderson County

Spider milkweed flowers.

Have you ever driven down the highway or maybe turned on to a gravel road just to look at the wildflowers that are scattered across a pasture? If you have, you probably wondered what some of those beautiful plants were. The Frontier Extension District will be offering an opportunity to learn about some of those plants during a wildflower and pasture tour at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 20, 2019, in southern Anderson County. Participants should meet at the Welda Community Building, located just west of state Highway 169 in Welda, Kan. From there the group will then convoy to the pastures.

Once at the location, participants will break into small groups, which will be led by a tour guide to tell about some of the wildflowers and answer questions. There is no need to RSVP and there is no cost to attend. Be advised that this tour will be over rough and uneven terrain, so anyone with limited mobility should plan accordingly. Bug repellent is also advised for ticks and chiggers.

Participants will learn about native wildflowers, pasture management, and maybe some about stocking rates.

For more information, contact Ryan Schaub, Frontier Extension District agent, at 785-448-6826.

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