Patrons of Finger Lakes State Park looking to have a good time in the mud might soon be able to leave the park with dirt bikes cleaner than their clothes.
A plan to add 25 campsites and a power washer at the park by January will be among the topics at an informational meeting planned by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources next week.
The meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 10 at the concession building in the park’s motocross track area. The park is 10 miles north of Columbia off Highway 63.
The state converted the former coal mine into a 1,200-acre park after Peabody Coal donated the land in 1974. The park features a motocross track and trails, a swimming beach and numerous small lakes for fishing.
The new campsites and the power washer, which will be free to use, will be funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Recreational Trails Program.
“I can’t tell you how pumped I’d be if they put in a free power washer here,” Jarod Hribar said at the park on Sunday. Hribar said he goes to Finger Lakes two or three times a month but will come more often once the power washer is installed.
“I’d even throw in an extra buck to come out here if they put a power washer in,” he said. “It’s only $3 to get in, but it costs me $10 to get my bike washed every time I come out here.”
“I can probably even use it on myself, as I’m usually drenched in mud when I leave here,” Hribar added.
The new campsites will be built on the west side of the Finger Lakes campground. The 36 sites there now aren’t enough for the growing number of park users, Finger Lakes superintendent Debbie Newby said.
Kenneth Padgett has been living with his wife, Nadine, in a camper at Finger Lakes off and on since he took a job as a pole inspector for Boone Electric Cooperative in early January.
He said he’d like to see the DNR do more for campers.
“If they’re going to have a power washer for these idiots who get their four-wheelers dirty, they can provide amenities for the campers, too — like water,” he said.
Padgett must travel to the park’s contact station from his site on the north end of the park every time he wants water.
But Finger Lakes employee Chris Rexroad said the potential for frozen pipes prohibits the park from providing water lines to the campground.
While use of the park is sparse during the off-season, the number of users should increase dramatically when the regular season begins Thursday.
“We average about 150 to 250 riders per weekend day during the summer,” said Finger Lakes employee Chris Rexroad.
Those at the informational meeting can also meet new Finger Lakes ranger Calvin Crandall, who took the post in January, and ask questions of park officials.
Newby said each state park has a public meeting at least once a year.
“I hope it gives people a better understanding about what the park is doing,” she said.