From the Historic Leatherock Hotel Bed & Breakfast Bed & Breakfast/Suites and Museums
Discover our natural beauty, historical past, recreation resources, and country lifestyle.
Pearsen-Skubitz "Big Hill Lake" Cherryvale
Open year-round. Nestled in the rolling prairies and timbered countryside known as the "Little Ozarks", Big Hill Lake is only a short 5-mile drive from the Leatherock Hotel Bed & Breakfast . It is the only clear freshwater water lake of its type in Kansas. It began operation in 1981, covers 2,572-acres and forms 20-miles of shoreline with 1,240 surface acres of water. The lake was formed when a dam was built across Big Hill Creek to prevent the raging waters during heavy rains from washing away crops, fertile soil and at times even livestock. The lake is named after an Osage Indian chief, "Big Hill Joe." During its construction, the area was popular with archaeologists, many items found are on display at the lake's U.S. Army Corps Project Office. Food, bait and tackle shops, and medical facilities are available near the lake.
Camping, RVing, Picnicking & Swimming:
Surrounding the lake are five
beautiful park areas, Cherryvale Park, Downstream Point, Mound Valley
Park, Overlook Point, and Timber Hill Camp which offer many
recreational activities. Included are 140 designated camper and RV sites (104
with electricity), showers, running water restrooms, sanitary facilities, all
paved roads and pullouts, a creative playground and ball field, rustic group
shelters with potable water, and comfortable tables with convenient
cooking grills. A special area has been set aside for tent campers. In addition,
picnickers can utilize either of the two Day Use areas which offer
group picnicking facilities or individual picnic sites. Bill Hill Lake has
one of the few alcohol-free sand-covered swimming beaches in Kansas. The beach has a changing-house
with restrooms. Flying a kite on a breezy spring afternoon
is recreation to the fullest. Many outdoor fans enjoy kite flying and even
flying radio-controlled airplanes at the vast open area south of the
lake's dam. During the warmer summer months, an afternoon picnic and
evening stroll at one of the camping facilities is a must. Fees are
collected on a seasonal pass at three of the park areas.
through Mid-March. Approximately 800 acres of project
lands are for wildlife with special restriction open to public hunting.
Game species are numerous and varied around Big Hill Lake. Most abundant
are bobwhite quail, rabbit, gray and fox squirrel, mourning dove,
migratory waterfowl, wild turkey and white-tail deer. The Kansas
Department of Wildlife and Parks also owns and manages 1,350 acres of land
for public hunting about one-mile from the lake. The nine counties of
southeastern Kansas are said to be the "The Best for Hunting Quail".
Bobwhite Quail harvest in Kansas annually tops over 2,000,000 birds.
The Ruth Nixon Memorial Hiking Trail is one-mile in length and meanders along the lake's western shoreline. This trail links the Overlook and Cherryvale Recreation areas and is equipped with hiker's rest areas to enjoy the views of the lake. Bird watchers will enjoy the many species of birds, both migratory and the ones that stay year round. Wildflowers are abundant in the area during the spring and fall. Persimmon, Osage orange, redbud and dogwood are produced by hedgerows and former farmsteads. Walnut, oak, hickory, cedar, wild plum, wild cherry, and many other varieties of trees gracefully dotting the landscape. During the warmer summer months an afternoon picnic and evening stroll at one of the camping facilities is a must. © 2000-2016
This beautifully maintained lake is a project of the U. S. Army Corps of
Engineers. Inquires regarding the project and its use are welcomed at the
Project Office located near the dam, phone 620 336-2741, web site
www.swt.usace.army.mil. Click below for
Hill construction and
All hunting and fishing activities are in
accordance with both State and Federal regulations. Order
brochures and/or purchase licenses on line 24 hours a day, seven days a week
from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks,
Roads end at South Galveston Street. Open all year. Built in 1870 to draw fresh water for the Leavenworth, Lawrence & Galveston Railway steam locomotives and later for the Atchison Topeka Santa Fe Railway's steam locomotives, this 45-acre lake was deeded by the Santa Fe Railway to the city as a New Years gift in 1954. Prior to being deeded to the city, by some sort of lease arrangement, it became the water supply for the entire town until 1900 when the the new municipal water lake was puts into service.
During the depression years, the old lake was seized by a group of volunteers and huge amounts of fish were distributed among those who hardly knew where their next meal was to come from. After the Santa Fe Railway discontinued use of the old lake, for years its served no practical use. In April 1, 1957, public fishing opened at the lake. The Cherryvale News, April 28, 1881, stated: "Last week the fish commissioner for this state, Mr. Long, put 10,000 fish in the lake south of town."
It is now part of Cherryvale's Recreation Commission with three baseball fields, a pitching batting cage, basketball and tennis courts, playground and a picnic shelter with fire pit. The commission organizes youth baseball, softball, football, and basketball leagues each season. Tanko Lake is still an ideal fishing spot for young and old alike with its fishing berms and a small boat ramp. The National Guard has built a bridge to the island for added fishing access. But largemouth bass under 18 inches and channel catfish under 15 inches must be returned into the water. Guests at the lake can enjoy the migratory waterfowl which make the lake a regular stop on their mysterious seasonal journeys. Sometimes "Tanko" even provides an ideal skating place.
If you come to town and can not
find that person at home during summer evenings, chances are they will be
enjoying the cool breeze from the lake with their family, friends and
neighbors creating cherished memories with their children, grandchildren and
neighbor's children engaging in some wholesome entertainment or
Overnight Camping, Swimming,
Firearms and Hunting are prohibited at Tanko Lake.
© 2000-2005 Wayne Hallowell
Located two miles southeast of downtown Cherryvale, the Lakeview Country Club & Resort is on 150-arcres, with a
50-acre fresh water lake that was at one time
Cherryvale's municipal waterworks. A wonderful
Operated by the Army Corp of Engineers, this tranquil reservoir
in the Osage Questas of southeastern Kansas, is located 19-miles
west of Cherryvale off Highway 160 and is well known among fishermen and
hunters. It forms a lake featuring a shoreline nearly 50-miles in length.
Elk City Lake offers a wide variety of other outdoor recreation, camping,
picnicking, sightseeing, swimming, boating, water skiing, hiking, and
wildlife spotting for one to come and enjoy. The huge pileated woodpecker is
common among the mature trees. A myriad of wild mammals, birds, reptiles,
amphibians, and invertebrates add greatly to the vitality and natural
heritage of the area. Wintering waterfowl feeding in the wildlife refuge
provides spectacular viewing in spring and late fall.
Hunting: Seasonal October through Mid-March. The US Army Corps of Engineers oversees 1,600 acres for wildlife purposes. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has a license to approximately 12,240 acres of project area for wildlife management and public hunting on the east shore. Almost all areas are open for public hunting except around the developed recreational areas, the dams, control structures and the water fowl fefuge. These open areas are marked with "Public Hunting Area" signs and have gravel, township, and county dirt roads providing necessary access. Rifles, shotguns, handguns, primitive firearms, and bows and arrows can be used in designated hunting areas.
Primary species hunted are
whitetail deer, bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbit, morning dove, fox and
gray squirrel, prairie chickens, and a variety of species of duck and
geese. Only temporary duck blinds are authorized and must be removed after
each days use. Wild turkeys were reintroduced into the area in 1953, and
their numbers have grown over the years. The surrounding expanses of grass
and wooded hillsides support some of the best quail populations in Kansas.
Common furbearers include beaver, raccoon, bobcat, coyote, gray fox,
opossum, mink, and muskrat. A portion of the state park is open to shot
gun pellets and archery hunting only. Kansas fishing licenses, boat
permits, hunting licenses and maps are available at the project office.
The lake is a project of the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers. Inquires
regarding its use are welcomed at the reservoir's Project
Office, phone 620 336-2741, Fax 620 336-3903, web site
www.swt.usace.army.mil/res/re[t.html. State Park Office, 620 331-6295. Hunting and fishing regulations
are provided by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. Order
brochures and purchase licenses on line 24 hours a day, seven days a week,
You know you're in a small town when you are given directions to turn left where the big oak tree use to be...
© 1999-2016 Leatherock Hotel Bed & Breakfast. Web Site created, compiled and maintained by Wayne Hallowell, Director of the Leatherock Hotel Bed & Breakfast
information is part of the heritage of Cherryvale, Kansas and the legacy of the
Leatherock Hotel Bed & Breakfast
A Bed & Breakfast and Museum
420 North Depot Street Cherryvale, KS 67335
Information and Reservations 620 336-3350
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