STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
HOOVER’S VALLEY — The steep grade of the boat ramp at Inks Lake State Park causes problems for drivers and pedestrians.
For drivers trying to back their boat in or out of the water, gaining traction is nearly impossible.
Trucks either lose traction and end up in the water or suddenly gain traction and speed up the ramp toward others.
It’s a dangerous situation that finally will be remedied.
The ramp will be fixed while the dock will be extended and rebuilt with concrete.
There’s one catch: The only public boat ramp on Inks Lake will be closed until March.
Inks Lake State Park interpreter Lindsay Pannell acknowledged the timeframe sounds like a negative.
“This has been a longtime concern from our boaters, and we have heard them, and we finally got the funding to fix this,” Pannell said. “It really is going to be much better in the long run. Not just for boaters but people walking in the parking lot.”
Contractors will begin work on the boat ramp first; however, an exact start date is not yet set. Pannell said the start date should be mid- to late September. The park’s Facebook page is the first place that will be updated when construction begins.
The current ramp has a slope greater than 18 percent. The construction will reduce that to 15 percent.
“Vehicles tend to lose traction on the existing ramp not only because of the slope but because of the slick surface and an abrupt break in the slope near the top of the ramp,” said Texas Parks and Wildlife Department project manager Jeff Johnson. “The proposed ramp will have a coarse herringbone pattern formed into the concrete to provide better traction.”
A similar ramp project at Fort Parker State Park in Mexia has received positive reviews, according to Johnson.
As the only public boat ramp on the lake, Pannell said the park has reached out to private property owners.
“We have not heard back from any private boat ramps of an agreement to allow the public to come in,” Pannell said. “As of now, we do not know of another place.”
The boat dock will allow for 50 percent more capacity, Pannell said.
Construction for both projects is expected to be complete by Spring Break 2019.
Inks Lake State Park is located at 3630 Park Road 4. Visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website or call (512) 793-2223 for more on the park.