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Find out why people love Inks Lake State Park at February events

Inks Lake State Park interpreter Monica Stewart can’t wait to get these new kayaks on the water once the lake level comes back up. The Lower Colorado River Authority lowered Inks Lake by 8 feet though February 28 to allow residents to clean around docks and perform maintenance. While this means the state park isn’t renting out kayaks, Stewart has plenty of other great programs for people to enjoy. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

When Monica Stewart joined Inks Lake State Park in the fall of 2019 as park interpreter, one of the first things she learned was just how beloved the park is by the community as well as those who travel miles to spend time there.

“People just love Inks Lake (State Park),” she said. “You certainly can see why. It’s such a great place.”

Stewart wants to feed off that love by creating and maintaining programs to celebrate the park’s natural beauty and build on its sense of community. Judging by the upcoming Inks Lake State Park calendar of events, she’s wrapping up winter and jumping into spring with plenty of fun, educational activities.

“I’m going to keep a lot of the events the park has held in the past, like Fishing with a Ranger,” she said. “I also want to try some new ones. The area is so rich with history and culture, and I want to bring more of that in.”

BACKYARD BASS

Backyard Bass: Flex Your Fishing Skills takes place most Saturdays (February 1, 8, 15, and 22) at 10 a.m. This is different than Fishing with a Ranger, Stewart explained, which has been suspended while the lake level is down. The Lower Colorado River Authority lowered Inks Lake by 8 feet through late February to give property owners a chance to repair docks and other damaged caused by the October flood in 2018.

The Backyard Bass program takes place on dry land, where participants will learn and practice casting skills. All the gear is provided.

TWILIGHT HIKE

One of the events Stewart is looking forward to is the regular Twilight Hike, which are 5-6:30 p.m. Saturdays (February 1, 8, 15, and 22) and start from the Devil’s Waterhole Nature Trailhead.

The late hikes are an opportunity to see a variety of nocturnal wildlife. Stewart is even looking into the possibility of hosting nighttime hikes.

Stewart brings an interesting perspective to the Twilight Hikes with her ability to recognize a number of wildlife sounds. During her master’s degree study, she researched South American singing subterranean rodents and became attuned to animal sounds many people might miss.

Hikers should bring a red-lighted flashlight or headlamp. Park staff will supply red cellophane and a flashlight, if needed. Closed-toe shoes are recommended.

BIRDING 101

On Sundays, February 2, 16, and 23, from 9:30-10:30 a.m., learn the basics during Birding 101 at the Wildlife Viewing Station. Seating is available at this introduction to bird identification. Check in at park headquarters for the code to the viewing station, which is located about 3 miles down Park Road 4 from the main entrance. Visitors can either drive or take a 2-mile hike on the Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail to the station.

COWBOY COFFEE

Returning Saturday, February 1, is the Cowboy Coffee in the Central Park playground area (look for the white tent). It is 8:30 a.m the first and third Saturdays of the month. Learn about how cowboys brewed their coffee on the range.

“I’ll also use it as a time to let people know what else is going on in the park during the day,” Stewart said. “It’s kind of a gathering place where, that morning, they can get information on the park and events.”

LOVE YOUR LAKE

While the lake lowering has left some activities high and dry, it’s a great time to do a little sprucing up. Love Your Lake! is a cleanup and picnic from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday, February 17, which is Presidents' Day.

“We want to encourage people to love the lake and the park,” Stewart said. “One way to do that is by help cleaning it up.”The event is open to individuals, families, groups, and organizations. The park will provide trash bags and gloves. After the cleanup, free hamburgers and hot dogs will be served.Email Stewart at monica.stewart@tpwd.texas.gov to RSVP.

Inks Lake State Park is located at 3630 Park Road 4 in Hoover’s Valley. For more information, visit the park’s website.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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