WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Three months out from Memorial Day in 2021, and state parks are already filling up. At Cheney Lake, all utility hook-ups are spoken for and other state parks are seeing the same type of rush.
On Tuesday, things were relatively calm at Cheney Lake with pockets of activities. A few people were enjoying the outdoors and warmer temps, like Ryan Martin who was tracking a flock of snow geese.
“It has been too cold to get out and do stuff so it is warming up and getting out there and doing something,” Martin said.
He is one of few people at the lake but he knows in little over a month those flocks of birds will be replaced by herds of people.
“It is pretty fun there are a lot of people out tubing and drinking and everything it is pretty fun out here,” Martin said.
Come Memorial Day weekend, all RV spots will be hooked up as the entire lake has already been booked.
State Parks Director Linda Lanterman says the lake had a record number of visitors last season. She believes the pandemic played a role in reconnecting people with nature.
More than 8.5 million people visited state parks in 2020 which is the most in the state park’s history. That was 3 million more than 2019. Parks also made $11.5 million in revenue which set another record.
“They felt like our state park was a safe way to stay contained to their family pod,” said Lanterman.
It also felt like old times for the owner of West Side Bait and Beer, Lisa Needham, who again is looking forward to the dog days of summer at her shop.
“It was fun, it was busy, it was crazy like what it used to be like when I was growing up here back in the 70s and 80s,” Needham said. “People just wall to wall out here having fun.”
According to Automotive News, first time RV buyers has doubled since last year.