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Perry Lake, Kansas
Perry Lake Information and Facts
Perry Lake is a reservoir on the Delaware River in the North-Eastern part of Kansas, United States.
The rolled earth fill dam, with a length of 2362 meters, was constructed in the ‘60s and was completed in 1966 with plans to help control the flooding of the Kansas and Delaware rivers. The reservoir is operated by the United States Army Corps of Engineers serving not only as a water reserve, but also as a very popular recreational area.
Located at an altitude of 272 meters, the artificial lake has a surface area of 45 km2 and 257 kilometers of shoreline. Because it is only at an hour’s distance, West of Kansas City, lying even closer to the town of Lawrence, Perry Reservoir, nicknamed “Paradise on the Plains”, has become a prime holiday destination among the inhabitants of these urban centers.
In 1968 the area around the reservoir was developed into Perry State Park. Over 4 km2 of marshland next to the man-made lake were transformed and developed into 14 spots that benefit local wildlife.
Perry Lake encompasses the main areas of the former Delaware Indian Reservation and protects the downstream communities of Perry, Lawrence, Bonner Springs and Kansas City from massive flooding.
With such a high demand amongst local communities for a fun outdoor recreational area, Perry Reservoir has a number of varied activities that can be pursued in its waters and on its shores.
There are endless possibilities for practicing water sports, since there are no restrictions regarding horse power; tourists only have to respect current state laws. Power boating, water skiing, jet skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding are the most popular water sports activities on Perry Lake. A local yacht club is also open to members, whilst the three marinas rent boats and have gas docks as well as numerous restaurants. There are also countless launching paths on the coastline.
The artificial lake is known for its productive sauger fishery, providing breeding stock for other lakes in the state of Kansas. One can easily guess that fishing is another popular pastime, the most frequented fish being the white bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, crappie, sauger and walleye. The different bait stations are a fun way to teach children how to fish from the shore. During the winter time, ice fishing is a popular sport on Perry Reservoir, especially around the Rock Creek Park area.
There are two main swimming beaches that also have designated picnic areas and playgrounds for kids. There is a small fee of $1-4 for the use of the beach. A life jacket loaner board is also located on these beaches, free of charge, as the jackets are expected to be given back. Perry Reservoir is also known as one of the best sailing lakes in the state.
The man-made lake’s coastline is a popular spot for camping, having 265 different campsites, a further 102 with full utility hookups and an additional 200 places for primitive camping. Well-equipped cabin rentals can also be found on the shores for fastidious guests.
The Perry Reservoir area is renowned for its prime hiking trails. One of the first national hiking trails, the Perry Lake hiking trail was appointed 30 years ago and has nearly 50 kilometers of trails, varying from easy to more difficult sections. Out of these one can find many interpretative trails, with information on local wildlife, birds, trees and grasses. There is a separate road for ATV fanatics and mountain bike enthusiasts, as well as nearly 40 kilometers of equestrian trails with primitive camping together with the horses.
Wildlife-viewing and bird-watching are also popular. The most commonly seen animals are the deer, turkey, quail, pheasant, squirrel, rabbit and the duck. The Perry Lake Marshland Refuge is the best place for bird-watching, where shorebirds, waterfowl and numerous migrating birds gather. Tourists can also contribute to the Perry Trail by volunteering and help maintaining it.
Old Jefferson Town Historical Museum complex is located nearby, with over 10 acres of traditional buildings, such as blacksmith’s shop, chapel, old school house and a Victorian home.