Phillips Lake Park

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COLUMBIA - At the sound of a horn and following a ribbon-cutting, Columbia's Parks and Recreation Department says "Go Fishing!" at Perry Philips Lake Park Saturday.  The dedication ceremony marks the beginning of the recreational area being officially opened to the public.  Prior to Columbia Parks and Rec. acquiring the park in 2008, the facility was privately owned.  But, the previous owners allowed locals to visit the roughly 40-acre site.

While the lake is made easy for the public to access for fishing and boating, Columbia's Parks and Rec. Department reminds visitors about a few ground rules.  Unlike other parks around the city, you cannot go swimming at Philips Lake.  Some areas near the lake may be steep for small children.  One of the youngsters we talked to wanted to go look for bats in a sewer pipe that held about one to two feet of water.  But, one mother says she doesn't think the park presents a danger for her son to explore.

"He knows how to be safe with the hooks and everything like that.  I wouldn't leave him on his own," said Janet Welch, Columbia resident.

With the new Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School opening nearby in the fall, park officials say they're not worried about students coming to the lake for recreation.  But, park officials expect everyone to follow the rules even as the grounds will not always be under supervision.

"Our primary concern is the fish and the fish themselves and it's not that the resources are being abused," said Scott Rice, agency supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation.

City officials said the property where the lake exists today could have been commercially developed.  Now, the site boasts a two-mile walking trail, fishing dock and boat ramp.  The Missouri Department of Conservation also stocked the lake with large mouth bass and channel catfish.

While the lake is made easy for the public to access for fishing and boating, a few areas between the park trails and lake are steep.  But, park officials expect visitors to follow the ground rules, which include no swimming and obeying all laws and obtain the necessary permits and licenses required by the Department of Conservation.

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