Camping could end at Tunnel Mill

A man fishes near the edge of the dam Friday afternoon at Tunnel Mill Park in Winfield. The city is considering eliminating the camping option at the park.

The City of Winfield may decide to end camping at Tunnel Mill Park, according to a proposal discussed Thursday at the city commission work session.

The 62-acre park, off of West 19th Avenue, is surrounded on three sides by the Walnut River. The Tunnel Mill Dam crosses the river near the west end of the park. The park is a popular fishing spot, and also features camping and picnic areas.

The city is considering eliminating the camping option from the park for several reasons, Public Improvements Director Patrick Steward said.

The area sees little use from campers and presents patrolling challenges for police and parks department staff, Steward said. Trash dumping is also a common problem at the site. The city offers other camping facilities at the Winfield Fairgrounds.

Commissioner Ron Hutto said that, although the park is not used much for camping, he wants to hear Winfield Park Board members’ opinions first before the commission makes any decision.

“I would hate to take away the option for people to spend the night camping and fishing,” Hutto said.

The remaining commissioners agreed to do that, meaning no action will be taken at Monday’s regular commission meeting.

Steward said the city’s park board is discussing longterm options and ideas for park usage. Winfield City Manager Taggart Wall said this is a chance to make the park a more inviting, family-oriented place.

“We want to work toward making improvements that help (the park) longterm,” Wall said.

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