The Lure of Lake Lincoln: Campers keep coming year-round

DAILY LEADER / KIM HENDERSON / Daisy, a Shih-Tzu, her owners and their friends, all of Byram, enjoy the fall weather at their campsite at Lake Lincoln recently.

DAILY LEADER / KIM HENDERSON / Daisy, a Shih-Tzu, her owners and their friends, all of Byram, enjoy the fall weather at their campsite at Lake Lincoln recently.

There’s a light out at site 39.

Manager Gary Winborne knows this because the spot’s occupant has just popped in his office at Lake Lincoln to relay the information, adding that “it gets mighty dark out there at night.”

Winborne, dressed in the dark green of Wildlife, Fisheries, & Parks authorities, nods his head, assuring the camper that the matter will be handled, and after six years at his current post, he can be trusted. During his tenure, this state park has garnered quite a reputation, including being named one of the top 100 campgrounds on the continent by Reserve America, the nation’s largest provider of campsite reservations.

There are reasons for Lake Lincoln’s popularity – interstate accessibility, towering hardwoods, 550 acres of water. But what about this time of year, when the only ones taking a dip in the lake are wearing feathers?

“Fall is a little slower for us since the lake is so popular in the summer,” Winborne agrees, but insiders know that the park still has much to offer as the leaves change. Good year-round fishing can be found from bank, boat, or pier, and when anglers tire of that sport, they can try out an 18-hole disc golf course, nature trails or the beach volleyball court – all minus the summertime heat and humidity.

Whether lured by white perch or wander lust, the tents and travel trailers do continue to roll in as temperatures drop. Today the sunshine has campers strolling, striking up conversations and making connections with folks from up north and further south. The aroma of coffee, percolating on propane stoves, follows them from site to site. Opened sleeves of Ritz crackers speak of continuous picnicking, and everywhere there is leisure, a pronounced lack of hurry. On a Thursday, no less.

That’s the way Dennis and Penny Lambert like it. The Monticello couple describes Lake Lincoln as being a quiet spot to camp, just close enough for their children and grandchildren to come for a visit.” We enjoy a chance to get out of the house,” Penny shares while adjusting the awning on their rig. She knows from experience the park is popular, even this time of year, and is careful to make reservations before their trips.

Lake Lincoln currently offer 71 “developed sites” – concrete pads where water and electrical hook-ups are available, and twenty-two of these sites are located lake-side. In addition, the park also features a cabin and three cottages.

Though a long way from “glamping” (the vacation trend which brings the glamour of a five-star hotel into the great outdoors) each of the cottages has central heat and air conditioning and are equipped with Direct TV, a kitchen and a bath.

And while camping at this park doesn’t have to be about leaking tents, it can be, if that’s what’s desired. For hard-core, leave-no-trace campers, Winborne says there’s a separate primitive area capable of handling a dozen individual groups. Here visitors can set out to enjoy a time of decreased connectivity and no cords.

“I just want to prove I can go a weekend without climate control,” one adventurer explains.

Winborne tells fall visitors, whether they’re roughing it or RV’ing with three slide-outs, to be sure and keep their eyes open for the season’s wildlife. “There’s a lot to see here – deer, foxes, bird life on the lake. I saw a coon just this morning.”

Camping Fees at Lake Lincoln State Park

• Primitive $13 per night

• Standard (water and electricity) $18 per night

• Full (water, sewer, and electricity) $20 per night

• 65 and over/Disabled – standard $13 per night, full $14 per night

• Cabin $35-110 per night

• Cottage $52-110 per night

For reservations, call 601-643-9044.