Buffalo Springs Lake: A new year, a new lake

Visitors to Buffalo Springs Lake may notice a few differences as the lake crew gears up for the upcoming summer.

Penny Jones, the lake’s promotions director, said new benches, a new restroom facility, canopies above some of those benches and additional standing grills have been put in place for overnight campers. Along with about 20 more spots under construction for RV hookup, Jones said the lake is better set to handle the demand for camping.

Single-day visitors should notice some differences since last year as well.

A total remodel of the lakeside marina, or the restaurant and bar near the boating docks and the beach area, is underway. Steven Clabaugh officially took ownership of the lakeside marina just a few weeks ago and is already revitalizing what will now be called the Buffalo Bay Marina.

“This’ll be the heartbeat of the lake,” Clabaugh said. “It’ll take a little bit to get it going, but we’re invested. I feel like it’ll be good for the residents and the guests.

Changes will be made both inside and out, with an extra focus on outside nightlife. Clabaugh said he intends to widen and remodel the outside pavilion to better accommodate live music he wants to host every weekend. He said he’ll add more tables, lights and amenities.

There’s already an outside bar connected to the restaurant, but Clabaugh believes that hasn’t been properly used. So he plans to clean it up, add televisions behind the bar and get a mixed beverage license so it can actually service as a bar.

The pavilion is between the outside bar and the lake. Clabaugh said he’ll fence it off from the lake and level the grass so that he can add activities like washer pits and potentially even an outside pool table or shuffle boards. He plans to bring back an old volleyball court that hasn’t been used in years as well. Clabaugh is also talking about putting up hammocks, creating fire pits and really anything he can think of for people to enjoy the nearby lake.

Since taking ownership a few weeks ago, the interior has been gutted in preparation of new flooring, paint and furniture. It will house an updated restaurant with a new menu, a new bar extension and a convenience store. Clabaugh said his goal is to have parts of the marina complete for guests in April.

“We’re gearing up and getting ready to go,” Clabaugh said. “It’ll have a marina feel to it, but kind of a hill-country feel to it as well. This was quite a project to get going.”

More changes

Jones said one of the big attractions to the Buffalo Springs Lake is the fishing, and they crew is experimenting with an idea they were told will help grow the number of fish.

David Denman, general manager of Buffalo Springs Lake, said they’ve purchased what are essentially pieces of PVC sheets bundled together to look like artificial bushes. They have cement at the bottom, Denman said, so they can be dropped in the lake and stick up like a tree.

“When that happens, algae begins to grow on them and the algae connects with the minnows and the small fish come and then the big fish,” Denman said. “It’s a fish habitat. We’ll drop them all over the lake, especially the shallow end. Once we get those out, it’ll promote fish growth — which promotes fisherman.”

Penny said a noticeable difference at Buffalo Springs Lake now is the construction at the front gate, for aesthetic reasons and to add more lanes so that people can pay and get through faster.

“There’s been a need for a better system because we have long lines,” she said. “People can be waiting in line forever to get into the lake. The idea of having more lanes so that more people can come through, and having an area for people who have pre-paid, we’ve not had that (before).”

Penny said that at some events, the line at the current gate can back up for more than a mile. Having visitors waiting in line for hours is not ideal, and Penny said this new gate should fix that.

Events and fees

A list of all the upcoming events this year can be found under the “Calendar of Events” at their website (www.buffalospringslake.net). Coming up as soon as next month is the Buffalo Easter Egg-Stravaganza on April 15, the Buffalo Fishing Tournament on April 22 and the Buffalo Wing Cook Off starting April 28.

As A-J Media reported in February, the admission fees to get in the lake have gone up since last year.

Lake goers wanting to cool off this summer will need to pay $2 or $3 dollars more at the gate compared to last year. Admission prices for adults are $10 at the gate instead of the previous $8; for children ages six to 11 it’s now $5 instead of $3, and for seniors and active military it’s $5 instead of $2.

Penny said the lake functions through gate admissions, and with added visitors comes the need for more maintenance and upkeep, which she said was the reasoning behind the fee increase. She said fees did not increase for summer passes, which the lake hopes more people will invest in, especially with the Buffalo Bay Marina in the works.

 

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