The Jacksonville Parks and Lakes Department announced the official dates for access to Lake Jacksonville in 2020.
the Lake will be open for the day on Saturday February 29th from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm for the annual site check day so that residents who leave their campers at the lake year round can get into the camp areas to check on their equipment.
The lake will officially open at 8:00 am on April 1st this year. Brett Gillbreth with the Parks and Lakes Department says that opening day will be a little different this year.
“One thing that we are doing differently this year is, we are going to open April 1st, but the water on the points will not be turned on at that time. We are going to wait, we have paid a lot of bills over the last couple of years in water line breaks and things like that from having them on a little too early.
We will still provide water that the concession stand and restroom facilities, things like that, but instead of making the campers wait until weather permits camping to have water, we are going to go ahead and open up the 1st of April so they can get out here and start getting all their lots ready for the good weather I guess you could say.”
Gillbreth says that many campers still are not aware of changes that were made to the process of paying on camp site leases.
“One thing that I don’t think people realize that we have been doing for the last several years is trying to make it a little bit easier for the campers that make lease payments for each season for their campsite, in the past they have only been able to do that during the month of April. Now we are allowing them to start making payments up at the City Clerk’s Office now instead of having to wait all the way till April to try and get the bills paid. They have a little bit more time to do so now.”
Gillbreth says that none of the fees at the lake have gone up since last season, however some fees could be lower for veterans.
“ Everything is pretty much staying the same. Two years ago we implemented a rule to let our veterans get a little bit of a discount. It is different discounts for different things, but that is one thing we are wanting people to know and a lot are still not aware of it. If they are a veteran they will get a discount on the boat stickers, or even possibly their camping lease agreement. So they need to make sure they show those I.D.’s or proof that they were a veteran. We are just trying to help those guys out, if it were not for them, we would not have a lake to enjoy.”
Gillbreth says that all 2019 boat stickers will be valid up until April 1st, with day passes still being available for access prior to April 1st, depending on the weather.
“Typically as of March 1st, we do allow people to come back out and start utilizing the water, but that is if the ice is off the lake. If the lake is one quarter or more froze, then we will not let anybody out there because we don’t want to risk damaging their equipment or someone getting hurt or something like that.
But if all the ice is off the lake, last year’s boat sticker is still valid up until we open the concession stand on April 1st. Daily pass boxes are still there if they don’t have a season pass from last year or they happen to have gotten a new boat or something like that, we do have a daily pass box down by the concession stand on the west side of the building. It’s like an $11.00 daily pass and that gets them the whole day on the water.”
Camping lot lease payments can be made at the City Clerk’s Office any time after January 2nd, with the final due date still being the last day of April.
Payments are to be taken to the concession stand at the lake once it is open for normal business hours, and boat stickers will not be sold at the City Clerk’s Office, they are only available at the Lake concession stand starting April 1st.
The last day of the 2020 Lake Jacksonville season will be October 14th when the lake closes at 5:00 pm