Doug Lopeman and his wife, Marita, have long loved Crawford State Park. Every year for 22 years, they came to the lake in the summer to bask in the area’s swimming waters, camping lodges and fine fishing holes.

Doug Lopeman and his wife, Marita, have long loved Crawford State Park. Every year for 22 years, they came to the lake in the summer to bask in the area’s swimming waters, camping lodges and fine fishing holes.
Four years ago, Lopeman retired after 30 years of delivering mail in Chanute.
Not long after that, he and Marita became a permanent fixture out at Crawford State Park. After retiring, he became the manager of the marina at the park and the couple moved out to the park, among the 30 or so that live on the lake permanently.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing for southeast Kansas,” Lopeman said. “I hear people say that they didn’t know this was here. It’s a really nice lake with nice facilities. The marina offers full menu options. It’s nice to have the park.”
The Lopemans were among the many families enjoying the first big weekend of the summer out at Crawford State Park.
Alishe Wilson and her family came to the lake from Iola for a week-long stretch. Not only that, they plan to be here every weekend in the summer.
“The kids just got out of school. In fact, we came straight from school,” Wilson said. “That’s how much we like it. It’s a safe place to come and I let my kids run all over the place. I can just let them run and do what they want. My whole family comes out here, probably 30 of us. We play ladderball and horseshoes.
“The people here are just so friendly. They’ll come over and play games. Everyone is just one monster family here. We don’t know our neighbors in the cabins, but they’re coming over to play games tonight. It’s just a great place.”
There are many activities for families to take advantage of out on the lake.
One of the more popular activities for many families is using the swimming area.
Michael Farrington, Fort Scott, and his family were out on the lake Saturday looking for a good kickoff to their summer.
“I love being outside and getting away from Fort Scott,” Farrington said. “We really don’t go any place else. This place has got everything we need.”
There are 75 homes remaining on Crawford State Park, the only state park that allows homes on the lake. The Lopemans summed up why Crawford State Park is such an attraction 75 years later.
“We boat, we have a dock, we love to boat, and we love to swim,” Doug Lopeman said. “The wildlife is beautiful. There are lots of geese, deer and turkey out here. It’s close to the cities, but it’s out here in nature. We just enjoy it.”

Andrew Nash can be reached at andrew.nash@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 ext. 132.