Until recently, Kepler Lake has never had a public boat launch. The location where sportsmen have launched boats since construction on the dam was completed in 1958 has always been on private property. Michael Nelson, Police Juror from Ward 6, said, “The Bienville Parish Police Jury owned the road and could only bush hog the road’s right-of-way. Had the landowner decided not to let people launch boats from his property, that would’ve been it. The boat launch was broken and the parking area was covered with pot holes which deterred sportsmen from using the lake.”
Before Mr. Nelson was elected to the Police Jury in 2016, people asked him about the state of the boat launch area. Mr. Nelson said, “I began working on this immediately, trying to figure out a way to accomplish this. The other jurors were in agreement that this needed to be done.” Mr. Nelson worked with the property owner on the stipulations of the lease, which was ultimately approved by the police jury.
In November of 2019, the police jury began working to create a public boat launch and parking area which would be inviting to sportsmen. The police jury developed a plan for the boat launch which included an new boat launch, parking area, and a metal pipe fence to keep vehicles off of the dam to protect it. The landowner leased the land to the parish for 25 years. However, in early 2020 the project stalled due to Covid restrictions. Work resumed on the project as soon as the restrictions were lifted. Parish engineer, Robbie George of S.E. Huey Co., was involved in the new boat launch project.
Mr. Nelson said, “Everyone on the police jury worked together and worked hard to get it completed. I am really excited about it.” Mr. Nelson said that there are no fees to use the boat launch and parking area. “All we ask is for people to do their part to keep it clean.”
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