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Camping Lovewell State Park in Kansas

Listen to our full interview with Thane Loring, Lovewell State Park Manager here:

Camping Lovewell State Park

Camp Kansas: We’re talking today with Thane Loring, the park manager at Lovewell State Park down in Kansas. How’s it going, Thane?

Thane: It’s going good.

Camp Kansas: Let’s just start off with a little bit of the history of the park. How long has it been there?

Thane: Not sure on the dates. The park should’ve started around 1973, ’73, somewhere in there.

Camp Kansas: What are the most popular activities that guests enjoy there?

Thane: Lovewell State Park is known for its water sports. We get a lot of boating, tubing, just pleasure boating. We also have really good fishing. But majority of the use that we get on this reservoir is boating.

Camp Kansas: If I was going to stay there for the weekend and wanted to venture outside of the park, what are some other attractions in the area I might want to check out?

Thane: Lovewell State Park, we sit approximately about 10 miles from a state historic site, the Pawnee Indian Village Museum, which is located by Republic, Kansas. Like I said, it’s a state historic site. It’s a Pawnee Indian settlement that’s there. A lot of people really don’t know about it, but it’s a very nice museum. It’s well-kept. They get a lot of visitors from across the nation that stop in and take a peek at it.

Camp Kansas: Great, cool. We’ll put a link to that on the website. And you guys have camping there, right?

Thane: Mm-hm.

Camp Kansas: So then as far as conveniences for gas, do you guys have ice in the office or any foodstuffs like that?

Thane: We do have a full marina concessionaire here in the park. They’re basically here starting around the middle of March and usually they go through till the middle of October, depending on the weather and visitation here in the park. The marina offers boat slip rentals; they offer boat rentals. They’re also probably known – it’s kind of a joke that we’ve got, but they’re probably the best restaurant in Jewell County. Some folks, we sit so close to Nebraska, say it’s the best restaurant in southern Nebraska, and it’s actually in Kansas.

But they offer a barbeque menu; they also have boat slips, like I said, with gas sales. If you want to buy some gas there on the water, they have a pump on the water to service all your gas needs, and also one on the bank. But they offer a variety of stuff inside their store, from skis to camping equipment to breakers if you need one for your camper.

Camp Kansas: Okay, that sounds pretty fun. You guys have group sites for reunions and that sort of thing, if someone wanted to come there with a larger group?

Photo courtesy of Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
Photo courtesy of Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Thane: Yes, we have a couple group areas. We basically have three miles of primitive shoreline camping. It’s all water-access, so we get a lot of family groups that will come and camp on the primitive shoreline, and they’ll pretty much get all their campers together and basically have an area right on the shoreline. We also have a couple of areas that you can reserve. Concrete Toadstool, where you can have a family reunion in there and it’s pretty much just you. Nobody else can be in there and camp around you, because you have the area all to yourself.

Camp Kansas: So you guys have some really secluded sites, sounds like.

Thane: They’re secluded as far as you’re still in with the majority of folks that are camped here at the lake, but you have your area. They can’t come in and camp around you. So you’ll have some privacy. All our campsites are within a rock’s throw of the water, so you always have a great view of the reservoir.

Camp Kansas: If you could only spend one hour in the park and do one thing, how would you spend your time?

Thane: My hour – of course, I’m an outdoorsman; a lot of times, our visitation here is basically the summer months. My time, a lot of people really don’t realize it, but we are a main area for the spring central flyway migration here for Snow Geese. Usually in the middle of March, say around Valentine’s Day to the middle of March, you can stop in here and see up to a million Snow Geese, possibly more. We also get large numbers of Bald Eagles that come in, too.

Camp Kansas: Wow.

Thane: And of course all the other waterfowl. You can drive around the park and probably see close to, like I said, a million to two million Snow Geese on the reservoir, along with anywhere from 50 to 100 Bald Eagles, and also a lot of other different waterfowl that stop here, too.

Camp Kansas: That’s hard to picture.

Thane: Mm-hm. It’s quite the scene. Working here in the springtime, we get people that drive through and look at all the Snow Geese, and they just can’t believe the amount of Snow Geese that are sitting on the reservoir. You can hear them from in your vehicle, in your office. They’re just so loud. People say how wonderful it is, but after listening to them for a week, you’re kind of stir-crazy by hearing it all the time.

Great Egret - Lovewell State Park. Photo courtesy of Mehmet Karatay
Great Egret – Lovewell State Park. Photo courtesy of Mehmet Karatay

Camp Kansas: And finally, if you could spend just one night in the campground, which particular campsite would you choose?

Thane: We have a campground called South Willow. It’s a great campground; it’s 50 amp, electric, water, sewer. It sits the closest to the water’s edge. You get a nice southwest breeze off of the reservoir. And it’s well-shaded. I would probably set on South Willow #5 or #6.

Camp Kansas: #5 or #6. So that’s the inside tip we’ll put on the site.

Thane: Yep.

Camp Kansas: All right. Well, that sounds great. Thanks so much for your time today, Thane.

Thane: No problem. Thanks for calling.

Lovewell State Park
2446 250 Road
Webber, KS 66970
(785) 753-4971

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