Rock Creek ready for season

Amy Kent/Clinton HeraldStudents from Camanche Middle School enjoy a sunny afternoon Wednesday canoeing at Rock Creek Marina and Campground, one of the highlight features of the local fishing, camping and outdoor activities center in Camanche.

CAMANCHE — For the past two years it has seemed to Clinton County Conservation park ranger Brad Taylor that residents in the Gateway area haven’t truly been able to enjoy the perks of living on the Mississippi River.

He’s hoping this year will offer a change of pace.

“I think everybody’s ready for a good summer,” Taylor said. “You know people spend all this time and money on getting their boats ready and you have only about four months to use it. Then if it’s flooding, that cuts it down to about two months so it gets pretty frustrating. The river levels are in good shape at this point and the forecast is in good shape so the hope is for a good boating season and a good fishing season.”

As one of the area’s only campgrounds that offers river tours, canoe, kayak and paddleboat rentals, the beauty of visiting Rock Creek this summer, said Taylor, is having a boat isn’t necessary.

With all of the camp sites ready and waiting for visitors, he expects it won’t be long until he starts to see the overflow of guests visiting the unique, outdoor activities area.

Already he has seen a number of campers taking advantage of the mild summer weather, and as the temperatures begin to rise and rainstorms become less frequent, it’s only going to increase.

“Memorial Day is the big kickoff to the season but there’s plenty of people that are already getting out this year,” Taylor said. “We’ve got plenty of activities going on this summer too so there will be a lot of things people can enjoy here.”

One thing he is hoping will be ready to go when that Memorial Day kickoff arrives is the Mississippi River Eco Tourism Center’s indoor nature exhibit.

For nearly two years, the Clinton County Conservation group has worked to install an interactive turtle tank as the centerpiece of the Eco Tourism Center, but complications with contractors and agreements have hindered the display’s completion.

Now, working with a new company, Taylor is confident the tank will at least be 90 percent completed when Memorial Day arrives. In addition to the turtle display, there also will be a tree-house exhibit that encourages children to climb and explore.

“This is one of the best areas of the Mississippi River; this pool has some of the best fishing you’ll find,” Taylor said. “I grew up here and grew up on the river so I look at things a little differently, but I think so often people forget what an incredible resource we have right here.”

Assistant Editor Amy Kent can be contacted at amykent@clintonherald.com.

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