www.parks.ky.gov, and you'll see sandy beaches with children swimming and playing, well-trimmed hiking trails and rolling hills of freshly mowed recreational areas.MUHLENBERG COUNTY, Ky. (5/31/13) – Click on the Lake Malone State Park on the Kentucky state website,
However, an increasing number of citizens, tourists and voices in Frankfort paint quite a different picture, a park in "dire straits," according to Kentucky State Representatives Brent Yonts (District 15) and Martha Jane King (District 16).
King and Yonts represent the three-county area where the long-time fishing and camping destination lies, near Dunmor, Ky. The park, which opened in 1961, covers portions of Muhlenberg, Todd and Logan Counties.
The letter to Beshear, dated May 30th, 2013, bluntly tells the governor that the reality is "nothing has been done to improve the park in years." Both note they have received "complaint after complaint about the appearance of the park and have been told that many believe the park will be closed. We do not feel this is the intent of the park system, but we feel we must call attention to the fact that it is being grossly neglected." Yonts and King wrote.
The letter also includes pictures revealing what the two feel is clear evidence of a lack of basic maintenance, due largely to the fact that the 800 plus acre park "has only three maintenance people, cut back from eleven last year. None of the current staff work full time," the letter states.
The lake, created by the damming of the Mud River, opened in 1961. King and Yonts state that Lake Malone could be a "jewel in the crown of state parks".
Instead, they say, the park has been pretty much ignored increasingly through the years, citing the fact that they have received reports that there is ongoing sewage problems that have not been addressed, trails blocked by fallen trees, and a laundry list of problems that Yonts and King feel can and should be addressed, even in times of budget cuts.
Mike Kirby, of Lewisburg, a vice president of the group "Friends of Lake Malone", voiced his frustration to SurfKY News. Kirby and others sponsor a yearly "Fishing with Kids" event, which draws in hundreds of young people annually. This year's event is set for June 15th.
"We're trying to do things for the park, but it just seems like money for the park has been cut back," Kirby said, noting that playground equipment that is sorely in need of repair has been taken out but never replaced.
“We really don't feel honestly that three people have enough time to take care of what needs to be done. It's a beautiful park and a beautiful lake, and I think we need to do everything we can to attract people to come to Lake Malone. But if we don't do what we can to keep the park in good shape, people just won't come. It has always been a great place for kids to come, and for families. It has given kids things to do to keep them off of drugs and alcohol. "
"A tornado came through three or four months ago and now there are trees blocking many of the trails. That could be cleaned up for nothing. The loggers would be glad to come in there and clear it out, but if they wait until the trees rot, then they'll just have to pay someone to clear it all out. It looks like that's a no-brainer." Kirby added.
Rep. Yonts told SurfKY News that in addition to sending the letter the governor, he has also talked with other officials this week.
"Wednesday, May 29th, 2013, I met with members of the Tourism Cabinet. I advised them of the Lake Malone sewage issue, I advised them of the grass not being mowed. I advised them of the boat dock at the park not being opened as they had promised to do in a letter they sent to me in February of this year. They acknowledged they sent me a letter stating the boat dock would be open for Memorial Day, but it wasn't," Yonts noted in frustration.
To find out how you can help or join "Friends of Lake Malone", call Mike Kirby at 270-725-1086, or Roger Griffin at 270 657 3111. To voice your concern about the lake you may reach Governor Beshear's office at 502-564-8100
Photos provided by State Rep. Martha Jane King
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