After having witnessed the lake experience at typical venues with privately-owned properties and docks, I believe that my sojourn at Smithville Lake over the Independence Day weekend will stand out as the sort of eye-opener that may make me rethink the whole concept.
True, many of my childhood weekends were spent at a truly revolting cove at the Lake of the Ozarks called Ivy Bend. But I’ve also been to Lake Ethel in Minnesota, which is really a stunning example of how clean the water can be, how pure the air can be, and how idyllic is the time spent angling for largemouth bass.
So when my fiancé and I went to Smithville Lake for our holiday camping trip, I was delighted to learn that my grandparents’ old farm is not ONLY above ground (contrary to long-held belief), but that it’s campground---and very well-maintained, at that! It wasn’t until towards the end of our stay that I realized that there was no individually-owned property there. If property owners around here can’t be trusted to keep the area clean, then I suppose there are worse things than leaving it up to Clay County to keep things in line as much as can be expected. And they do a remarkable job:
1. Recycling centers
2. Very clean restrooms
3. Regular patrols by the ranger
4. Clean campsites
5. An orderly system
6. A sensible layout
7. Easy access to about everything and everywhere.
I mean, what a concept! Don’t be surprised if we go back there. If you haven’t been there, I highly recommend it.
Note to Corps of Engineers: Next time you have to do a flood-control project, advise the locals to use this system as a viable template. A lot of campers will thank you profusely.