Scott County park deserves place among nation's best.
Lake Scott State Park stands as an oasis in a region known for drought.
Beyond the 100-acre lake that's excellent for fishing, the park in Scott County also features the ruins of El Cuartelejo, the only known Indian pueblo in Kansas and northernmost pueblo in North America.
Those highlights and the park's amazing landscape of natural springs, deep wooded canyons and craggy bluffs have fascinated local residents and visitors alike for many years.
Some believe the springs surrounding Lake Scott lured American Indian settlers to the area many years ago. Today, the refreshing, breathtaking venue attracts a steady stream of swimmers, anglers, campers and sightseers.
The lure has been so compelling that National Geographic Traveler magazine once recognized Lake Scott State Park as one of 50 must-see state parks in the nation.
And now, another national publication has placed the southwest Kansas attraction among other sites to see in the United States.
Lake Scott State Park recently was singled out by a freelance writer and world traveler for USA Today as having Kansas' best beach.
As part of a compilation of "great" beaches to visit in each state, Lawrence-based writer Beth Reiber touched on more than water activities at Lake Scott State Park.
Having enjoyed the Scott County gem years before, Reiber was equally impressed during a more recent visit.
"When I went back with my sons, I was struck again by how unusual it is to have a lake like that in the middle of not much else," she said in an interview. "Not only how picturesque it is, but also regarding the history of the place. It wasn't just about the beach itself — it's the whole package."
Indeed. The beautiful setting and its history make the park a refreshing surprise in western Kansas.
The recent attention also proved something many western Kansans already know, although some take for granted: This region does have interesting sights that are worth a look due to their natural beauty and historical significance.
Count Lake Scott as not only a standout in that regard in Kansas, but also the nation as a whole.