An Okoboji-area businessman has come up with a big idea he thinks will boost the Great Lakes region, but it’s not likely to get state financing. Butch Parks owns Parks Marina at Lake Okoboji as well as a local restaurant, and he proposes construction of a new South Lake Okoboji. It would wrap around the south and east sides of the town of Milford, and dozens of homes in that area would be submerged.”It was kind of a natural area. Before 1900, it was actually part of the lake at one time before they damned it up…held the water level in Okoboji,” parks says. “They could have gone four miles farther south (with the damn) and made the same lake.” Parks presented his idea last Thursday night to Milford residents. He says the lake would cover some gravel pits in the area, a key part of his vision. “One of the things it would do is create probably the best fishing in North America,” he says. “The fish habitat would be incredible.” Parks says some of the water would be over 100 feet deep in some places, and shelves could be built in the lake to provide fish habitat. “There would be great places for boat ramps; great place on the lake for a city park for Milford,” he says. “Great place for many, many homes; great place for many business — just all of the things that happen when a new lake is formed.” But opposition is already forming. When Parks outlined his idea in Milford last week, local residents called him crazy and callous. But their fears may be unfounded. Kevin Baskins of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says with scarce state tax dollars for lake development, officials probably wouldn’t look to put a new lake in the Okoboji area. “We have a number of places in the state that obviously don’t have the rich water resources that Dickinson County has,” Baskins says. He suggests state officials primarily focus on putting new lakes in areas that today don’t have ready access to a lake to pursue water sports and fishing. Even if a South Lake Okoboji were to get a green light from state officials, it would take more than a decade to put plans in motion. Baskins says it takes “years and years and years to construct a new lake” partly because of the planning that must go into it, and partly because of the negotiations with property owners to buy land that would be submerged. Parks says he’s just the idea guy, and it’ll be up to another “detail person” to make this lake a reality. “Someone else needs to find an organizer and get the thing moving, get all of the different people (who) would be involved working together,” Parks says.
You are here: / / Okoboji man proposes new lake