Opening Doors to Lake of the Ozarks

By John McPherson | March 2, 1999
From Missouri Conservationist: Mar 1999

In the early 1980s, Lake of the Ozarks had few public launching areas. These often could not meet boaters' demands and limited access to only small portions of the lake.

Fortunately, private landowners offered to sell property at Gravois Mills to the Conservation Department. Local business owners, community leaders and area residents realized the potential economic benefits to the community and encouraged construction of a public fishing and boating access area. Gravois Mills Access, the first door to Lake of the Ozarks, opened in 1985.

Since that first development on the upper Gravois Arm, the Conservation Department has purchased and constructed facilities at four additional sites around the lake-Coffman Beach, Shawnee Bend, Larry R. Gale Access and Brown Bend Access. The Conservation Department has acquired a fifth area, Brickley Hollow Access, with construction planned at a future date.

Our goal is to have public access areas about 10 miles apart. These include the three access areas on the Glaize Arm provided by the Department of Natural Resources, two U.S. Army Corps of Engineers areas on the upper Osage Arm and the launch site at Warsaw City Park.

In the future, the Conservation Department wants to provide at least three more access areas in the Linn Creek, North Shore and Hurricane Deck/Parvis Beach areas of the lake-if suitable property from willing sellers becomes available.

All Conservation Department access areas at the lake are disabled accessible and accommodate people in wheelchairs. They are safe and convenient areas to launch your boat and park your vehicle and trailer. They also offer good places for bank fishing, picnicking or just enjoying the scenery. The next time you catch fishing fever or need to get away, check out these open doors to Lake of the Ozarks.

Boaters Safety List

  • Always have life jackets readily accessible to all occupants. Also carry a throwable flotation device, such as a ring buoy.
  • Carry fire extinguishers on boats that contain flammable liquids, such as gasoline.
  • Keep a horn on board.
  • Use proper lighting when boating after dark.
  • Always have an observer-at least 12 years of age or older-on board when water skiing or parasailing.
  • Never swim alone.
  • No person under 14 can operate a motorboat unless under the direct supervision of a parent, guardian or other person over 16.
  • Do not operate a boat if you have been drinking alcohol. Boating while intoxicated is punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and/or 5 years in jail. The risk of fatality from a boating accident is increased 10 times if the operator is intoxicated.
  • Be aware of all regulatory markers and navigational buoys.
  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and retreat to shade when possible. Use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Always tell someone on shore where you're going and when you intend to return.

For more information on boating safety, contact the Missouri State Water Patrol, P.O. Box 1368, Jefferson City, 65102.

This Issue's Staff

Editor - Tom Cwynar
Assistant Editor - Charlotte Overby
Managing Editor - Jim Auckley
Art Editor - Dickson Stauffer
Designer - Tracy Ritter
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Photographer - Jim Rathert
Photographer - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Joan McKee
Composition - Libby Bode Block
Circulation - Bertha Bainer