The Salton Sea of Dodge City

I asked my mom a while back if people in our social circle still have their campers down at the sand pit. Imagine my surprise when she told me the Watersports Campground no longer has water. When did this happen? *shrugs*

So I turned to Trip Advisor and holy hell, the reviews! Looks like things were not going great as far back as 2009. But I was there in 2009 and don’t recall the the pit being any trashier than normal. Totally get the Brit’s issue with drunks, though. I was probably one of them. Anyway, it appears the water pumps couldn’t get ahead of the drought in the Summer of 2012. I was in Arizona and cannot be expected to know all of the things.

The name has been changed to Riverside RV Park, which is actually pretty hilarious. For those of you who don’t get the joke, allow me to present the mighty Arkansas River:

Thanks a lot, State of Colorado and Army Corps of Engineers! Ya jerks.

Anyway, the response to this review from 2020 on Pitchup says the new owner is bringing the lake back.

Before I hit you with current photos, I dug out some pics from the 1990s that show all sorts of background images. See if you recognize the various spots.

If you don’t use the satellite layer on Google Maps, it looks totally normal. But when you click that little button, holy moly. This is another instance in which the Street View will allow you to cruise through in the 2007 wayback machine, when it looked like a nice place to have a beer on a pontoon boat. It was!

I went over to grab some photos the last time I was in town and they really have their work cut out for them. Someone was mowing on a tractor and I saw heavy equipment down in the pit north of the island so it’s obvious work is being done. There’s no punchline…saving that place is going to take an incredible amount of labor and capital. I wouldn’t be surprised if they fill in the lake and just make more flat RV spots. Or fill it in and subdivide the lots. So much work.

This doesn’t appear to be an active listing but I was able to snag a brochure from when the property was on the market.

When I think about how much fun I had at the pit from the time I was in grade school, it just makes me sad to see it looking this way. I sincerely hope they’re able to bring it back to life. With that, I don’t remember the water always being this gross but my lunatic Rottweiler didn’t seem to mind it back in 1997.

Then again, perhaps the mud was a chronic issue.

The Hays Daily News, February 11, 2008

Best of luck to the current owner. I hope to be flung off a tube into muddy water very soon!

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