Roush, Salamonie properties are ready for another season of fun

Dennis White, property manager of Salamonie Lake, points to Lost Bridge West on the map in the lake’s main office. White, who has been at the lake for 38 years, says updates made to the campground at the end of last year will be new to visitors this year.
Dennis White, property manager of Salamonie Lake, points to Lost Bridge West on the map in the lake’s main office. White, who has been at the lake for 38 years, says updates made to the campground at the end of last year will be new to visitors this year. Photo by Jessica Williams.

More than 20,000 acres of land are available in or near Huntington for natural park entertainment this summer.

Some attractions will be new this season due to the hard work of the property managers of J. Edward Roush and Salamonie lakes and their staffs.

The park surrounding the 870-acre Roush Lake is nearly 7,500 acres and has made some improvements, additions and updates recently, says property manager Jeff Reed, who has been in that position for 33 years.

One of the most noteworthy additions is Little Turtle Point, which opened the weekend of May 15. It's a small, primitive camping site that overlooks the lake, Reed explains.

"Little Turtle Point campground is wonderful," he says. "It's five sites. If there are five families or five friends that want to rent it, that'd be a great place (to do so). It's kind of separated from all other camping areas."

It was completed last fall and seeded just this spring.
The park's gatehouse opened the last week of April, and the beach opened May 22 and is accessible through Labor Day.

Reed says another addition, a skeet range, will hopefully open by the fall.

"It'll happen this summer, barring any drastic budget cuts," he says.

The shooting range is open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, but open on Monday holidays.

Kil-So-Quah has been updated with electricity as well. The 25 sites were previously classified as primitive - no electricity and sewage at the sites.

Along will checking out the improvements to Roush, visitors can also do the normal park activities: kayak, canoe, rent paddle boats, hike, mountain bike, fish, play basketball or picnic, just to name a few.

Reed says some people prefer to just sit by the campfire.

Some upcoming youth events this summer at Roush are the kids' fishing derby on June 5 and the youth dove hunt on Sept. 4. Reservations for the dove hunt can be made beginning July 1. To register for the fishing derby, call the Upper Wabash Interpretive Center at 468-2127.
Reed says that more events are listed at www.in.gov/dnr/park lake/2956. Call the lake at 468-2165 for more information. Roush Lake is located at 517 N. Warren Rd. in Huntington.

Dennis White, property manager at Salamonie Lake, thinks updates and projects completed last year at the lake will be new to visitors this summer season.

One of those updates is the new modern comfort station, which White says has caught on because it's new and different.

It has a family restroom and is heated separately than the other comfort stations, which means it can be left running longer than the rest, he explains; the park at Salamonie Lake is open all year long.

White says they do get visitors in the winter, but Memorial Day appears to be the "unofficial" opening for them, the time when business really picks up.

The land covers about 12,500 acres, including woods and water. About 9,000 acres is wildlife management area, something White says puts the park in the top tier in the state.

The roads that wind through the park were repaired and repaved last fall, and White believes that will be something new to people. It's been a project for 25 years, he says.

Fishing ponds were recently upgraded, and White says an ongoing project is their wetland restoration, something he hopes to have done by the end of the summer. This will increase hunting, trapping and bird watching opportunities for visitors.

The Turkey Cove Trail was also made wheelchair accessible, with over 10 miles of trails - for hiking, biking and horses - improved by tree trimming and improving trail surfaces.

The Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps (YHCC), a group that is funded through federal stimulus and makes up 80 percent of Salamonie's seasonal staff, eliminated 22 acres of bush honeysuckle along a stretch of Salamonie State Forest road over two miles long.

Playground equipment at the horseman's campground was refurbished, and White says that's an example of how the park is being innovative when the money is tight.
This portion of the campground is for those who camp with their horses. There are horse trails accessible as well.

The targeted campsites are something White believes only Salamonie can offer in the short drive.

"That's kind of unusual in Indiana," he says of a reservoir offering these sites for a family's four-legged members.

For more information on Salamonie Lake and its events, visit www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2952 or call 468-2125. Salamonie Lake is located at 9214W Lost Bridge West in Andrews.

Both Roush and Salamonie campgrounds are booked full for Memorial Day.