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Fifty years old and going strong would be a good motto for artificial Lake Jacomo. Located about 15 miles east of Kansas City in the Northwest Missouri region, Lake Jacomo was created for recreation and does the job with a flair. Located near Lee's Summit, Missouri, Lake Jacomo was more than 20 years in the planning stages but finally began construction in the mid-1950s. So great was the anticipation that the local sailing club was formed before the lake had filled. The sailing club is still there; the lake has a 10-horsepower limit on motors, giving sailors more open waters on which to trim their sails. The nearly thousand-acre lake sprawls with a series of arms, coves and open stretching against a backdrop of heavily wooded shoreline broken only by recreational facilities created by Jackson County. The name Jacomo is a combination of the location (Jackson County, Missouri), and the Jackson County Parks Department does its best to see that all recreational tastes are accounted for.
Located entirely within Fleming Park, Lake Jacomo shares top billing with neighboring Blue Springs Lake just below the dam. Power boating and fast-paced water sports are limited to Blue Springs Lake, leaving Lake Jacomo as the haven for sailboats, fishermen and nature admirers. A designated Sail Boat Cove shows many sailboats at anchor, with mooring buoys and dry sail lot. Regattas are scheduled for warm summer days, and a younger generation learns sailing skills from the older generation of members. The South Boat Dock has room for 300 boats, while the marina offers the largest boat rental in the Kansas City area. The full-service marina has food, fuel, bait, boating supplies, a boat pump-out station and sells fishing licenses and boating permits. Occasional boaters can rent pontoons, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, fishing boats and bass boats here. On weekdays the marina's dock is open for fishing. And the marina even offers lake cruises for those wishing to get the big picture of what the lake looks like. Boat launching at the several ramps around the lakes is available. All park visitors must pay a small fee, and all private boats must buy a one-day boat pass.
Anglers love Lake Jacomo for its variety of species open to fishing. Largemouth bass is the main target for some fishermen, but others enjoy angling for hybrid striped bass, walleye, bluegill, catfish, crappie and even carp. A 1000-foot 'fishing trail' along the shore offers plenty of bank fishing and is great for children. Although parts of the lake sometimes freeze over in cold winters, the ice is never considered safe, so ice fishing is prohibited. Lake Jacomo Campground holds 57 campsites suitable for RVs and tent campers. An attendant is on hand to assist campers in solving problems and locating facilities such as restrooms, showers, firewood and ice vending. Plenty of shaded picnic tables with grills are provided along with a playground area. The campground next door at Blue Springs Lake has laundry facilities. There is no swimming beach at Lake Jacomo, but the beach at Blue Springs Lake is open to all park visitors.
The two lakes at Fleming Park complement each other. While newer Blue Springs Lake offers all of the fast-paced water fun, Lake Jacomo provides the quiet refuge so many are looking for. A series of trails within the park support both walking and mountain biking. Fleming Park covers over 7800 acres, nearly 1700 of them water. Several nature trails lead walkers through natural habitat around interesting geological formations, through wet meadows and under the forest canopy. Trails also lead to some of the other attractions within the park, such as the Missouri Town 1855 living farm exhibit. Here, 25 restored buildings and costumed interpreters depict farming and home-making skills common during the period. The living history museum is popular with school children who often arrive on school field trips.
Another point of interest within Fleming Park is the Kemper Outdoor Education Center. A trail leads to the nature center where a butterfly garden, water gardens, rock and fossil displays, wildlife exhibits, arboretum, natural resource library and large pond offer visitors all sorts of nature-themed activities. Also within the park is a 100-acre Native Hooved Animal Enclosure that holds elk, deer and bison. It is no wonder that Flaming Park receives over a million visitors a year.
The only form of lodging at Lake Jacomo is camping. However, the surrounding area is suburban, and many large hotels are found along the nearby highways. Some housing developments are close to Lake Jacomo and may get a glimpse of the shimmering water between the trees. There is no shortage of bed & breakfasts or guest rentals in the area. And the City of Lee's Summit has several points of interest that are well worth a visit. One of the biggest attractions for children is an amusement center with go-karts, bumper cars, miniature golf, 'gem mining', climbing walls and children's educational entertainment center. A water park and a skate center in town add to the fun.
A few miles from Lake Jacomo, history buffs won't want to miss the Lone Jack Battlefield Museum and Soldiers Cemetery. The cemetery holds the graves of both Union and Confederacy soldiers who died during two local battles, and is one of the few that has not been designated a National Cemetery. The Battlefield Museum holds dioramas, exhibits and archives depicting these battles and the area's history as a divided battleground state. With Kansas City only a few miles to the west, there is no shortage of cultural venues, night life or elegant dining. Lake Jacomo is the best of both worlds: nature and culture.
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