Pandemic brings record year for Kansas State Parks

Coronavirus in Kansas

EL DORADO, Kan. (KSNW) – Lakes are packed this Labor Day weekend as many will be enjoying the extended holiday. Kansas State Parks officials say those lakes have been seeing waves all summer.

“This is by far the biggest summer we have ever had,” said Linda Lanterman, Kansas State Parks Director.

Whether it is on a boat or in a tent, many Kansans say a weekend on the lake is the perfect escape.

“To get their minds off of this whole coronavirus stuff and with all of us out here camping it kind of bring us all closer together and spend more family time together,” said Dakota Cline.

Lanterman says the pandemic is renewing the appreciation for what the parks can offer, “Our visitation in many parks have already passed what we’ve had in years past already and the years not even over yet.”

Between the parks giving visitors plenty of space to social distance and the chance to take a break from masks, it is attracting new and regular visitors.

“I feel like it’s probably better out here than being cooped up in a little club or something,” said Cameron Hunt.

“I believe when you get to the park like this you are further apart, catch some fresh air, and just enjoy life,” said Bob Miller.

Sedgwick County Health Director, Adrienne Byrne, says although being outdoors is preferable. Kansans still have to keep their guard afloat.

“Be outside, have your picnics but have everything individually wrapped or have someone that is serving all the food to someone. So everyone is not grabbing those utensils,” she said.

Byrne adding in that could be one way the virus could spread, “Even if people are maintaining social distance because then they touch those spoons, those tongs and the finger goes in the eyes, nose or mouth and then here we go with the spread of COVID.”

Thanks to the rush of visitors Lanterman says the state parks have been able to financially recover from the revenue loss of the floods in 2019.

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