Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Staying Close to Home - a Look at Lake Lenexa

I'm still obeying the doctors' orders to avoid strenuous activities, so photo safaris are limited to sites close to home. Most recently I've made a couple of visits to the "new" Lake Lenexa, located in Black Hoof Park in western Lenexa, Kansas.

Already this project has become an award winner for its unique design and excellence in construction. Strategically placed in a scenic area amongst the hills, stone outcroppings, and forest (yes, this IS in Kansas), the dam and spillway project has transformed a storm water runoff problem caused by rapid suburban growth into an important community asset. The 35 acre lake and its surrounding park will offer, when totally completed, fishing, non-motorized boating, wetlands, trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and boardwalks.

I am fascinated by the contemporary and visually appealing design of the dam and spillway, and wish I had a way to photograph the complete layout from above. The design incorporates fountains, walkways, and plantings. Below is a series of photos which gives a variety of views:

Well developed, hard-surfaced trails have made Black Hoof Park a favorite with walkers of all ages. Families with munchkins in strollers are not an uncommon site. Those with an eye for wildflowers will find varieties native to riparian woodlands and prairie land when further away from the developed sections of the park. I suspect that bird watchers will find the park to be worthy of visit, as well. Even at mid-day, I noticed activity which included Eastern Blue Birds and a flyover by what I thought at first to be a pair of Great Blue Herons, but then wondered if they might be American Bitterns instead. The proximity of a much-used firing range means that you don't get a totally quiet, woodsy or rural setting, but after a few minutes you don't even notice the constant sound of gun fire.

Kudos to the city of Lenexa! This lake and park appears to be a winner.

All photos © frank thompson photos

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