LaGRANGE, Mo. -- Wakonda State Park -- one of Northeast Missouri's most popular outdoor recreation sites -- will be the focus of a public meeting at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is hosting the meeting to let the public voice comments and offer suggestions about the park and its operations.
Kyle Scott, Wakonda's superintendent, will be on hand to answer questions and talk about the park's newest features and plans for the future.
He said the public is welcome to attend "if they have anything they want to bring up with us, or if they just what to see what we're doing."
Saturday's meeting will take place in Shelter No. 2 at Agate Lake -- one of the park's newest additions.
The park, 3 miles south of LaGrange on U.S. 61, never had any shelters that could be rented for group events until two shelters were installed a couple of years ago. The first was erected near the beach, the second at Agate Lake.
Each shelter accommodates up to 50 people and can be rented for $25 a day.
"They're really nice," Scott said. "Each year we get more and more people using them."
Another popular addition at Wakonda are one- and two-person kayaks, which can be rented.
Scott said he plans to install a series of "paddling trails" on Agate, Jasper and Wakonda lakes. Color-coded buoys will be installed in coming months to designate the route of each trail.
The park already features about 8 miles of hiking/biking trails.
Scott said another project underway involves the installation of another handicapped-accessible fishing dock at Jasper Lake. It's expected to be finished this year.
Wakonda no longer has trailers available to rent for overnight stays. Scott said once the last trailers fell into disrepair, they were removed. Park officials have since converted the vacated space into several new campsites offering sewer, water and electric hookups.
"This year I've noticed a considerable increase in people camping," Scott said. "It keeps going up and up and up."
In 2017 alone, Scott said, 265,870 people visited Wakonda State Park and 15,389 were registered campers.
The 1,050-acre park features six lakes, multiple picnicking areas, and a swimming beach that's open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Wakonda is the only state park in Missouri containing an expanse of "sand prairie" -- a type of bottomland terrain now nearly extinct. The park also is a popular bird-watching site.
For more information, go to mostateparks.com/park/wakonda-state-park.