River Access Improvements, Koontz Lake Dam Area Mowing Discussed by Starke County Park Board

While a Stellar Community designation could bring upgrades to the Bass Lake Beach area, there might also be major improvements to recreational facilities throughout Starke County.

That’s what Rik Ritzler told the rest of the Starke County Park Board Tuesday. “Kayaks, trail connections, a lot of other things that the park board could be involved in,” he said.

“I don’t think any of those look too hard,” added County Attorney Marty Lucas.

Lucas suggested looking into upgrades at the point where the Kankakee and Yellow rivers meet, as part of larger efforts to encourage kayaking. “I mean, right now, it’s just kind of a road that goes to a muddy area,” he said, “but yet, it’s a fabulous location for kayaking, right? I mean, all those rivers you can get to.” Board Member Chris Lawrence agreed to start researching potential next steps with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Meanwhile, Board Member Rosemary Rose said she’d like to see some improvements at Koontz Lake. Ritzler, who also serves as Starke County’s highway superintendent, said he’s been talking to the Indiana Department of Transportation about mowing around Koontz Lake’s dam area. “There’s debate whether or not they feel they’re responsible to do that,” he explained. “One of the property owners at Koontz Lake did mow some of it, and we’re sending out some weed-whacking crews either tomorrow or the day after, to finish that up a little bit. And I’m meeting with INDOT on many different things, and that’s one of the topics of conversation, is who’s going to be responsible for doing that. I don’t mind the county, in conjunction with Koontz Lake [Association] doing that because I don’t think the state would do it very often.”

Ritzler added that if individuals would be willing to help mow the area, the state might be more willing to make some sort of agreement.