Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cedar Lake Park

We visited Cedar Lake Park on a windy February day.  It wasn't too cold, so we stayed for about an hour.

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Cedar Lake is a 75 acre lake surrounded by a 54 acre community park originally dedicated in 1920.  It was created by damming Cedar Creek, and served as Olathe's primary water supply.  From September 1953 until March of 1954, for 17 months, a severe drought in Olathe forced water to be brought to the city by rail or truck. Olathe’s primary source of water had become not more than a bed of silt. In September of 1953, Olathe put forth plans for building a new and larger water source for the city.  This was Lake Olathe, which we haven't visited yet.  (Source)

As the map shows, the park is located at about 159th and Lone Elm.  When it was first built, this must have been way out in the boonies.  It's still pretty much the southwest tip of Olathe.

As it's one of the oldest parks in town, it's not terribly modern in its styling or amenities.  It does have some recent playground equipment, but I'm pretty sure the three shelters date back to the old days.  At least one of the shelters has a number of heart-shaped rocks worked into its construction.  (I didn't get a picture of that...maybe I'll go back for some later.)

Near the dam is a fishing area.  You can actually walk out across the dam, although if the water is lapping over it (as it apparently often does), the algae might make things slippery.

We could tell the area behind the dam was a hangout/getaway spot for local kids, who apparently like to paint graffiti there.  Here's somebody acting silly while sitting on top of the dam.

Last fall, before I'd thought of the quest to visit all the parks, I did a run at Cedar Lake park, covering about 10 kilometers (including some running on Lone Elm).  Click to see the track.  I thought I'd go all the way around the lake, but couldn't find a good way to get back up to 159th or Lone Elm, so I just went back the way I came.  I saw a number of interesting water birds while I was running there.

I think this park, being one of the oldest and being still pretty far out on the outskirts of town, may not be very well known.  It's certainly not receiving the lion's share of maintenance/improvement funding.  But sometimes it's nice to have a park that isn't too crowded.