- Associated Press - Friday, June 30, 2017

BORDEN, Ind. (AP) - It was a clear day Saturday, the rain that swept through the region at the end of the week leaving hardly a trace.

Toes dug into brown sand under the sun, kids kicked their way across the water, an inflatable alligator raft lay waiting at the shore. Tension built up from the work week released.

It was just another weekend at Deam Lake, an inland beach only 20 miles north of Louisville that has remained a popular summer destination for residents of the metropolitan area through the years.

“To them, this is howling wilderness,” Clark State Forest Property Manager Patrick Cleary said. “This is a nice place to be when you live in a city all the time and you come out here, and it’s like taking a deep breath.

“It just feels good to be out here.”

Deam Lake, a 1,300-acre portion of the 26,000-acre Clark State Forest, attracts families just looking for a natural escape. He said he gets more Kentuckians at the beach than Hoosiers.

“We’re the only lake around here in an area of half a million or more people, so it’s a good draw,” Cleary said.

What many in the region are beginning to learn - Deam Lake offers a lot more than its beach.

Picnicking, fishing, camping (including horse campgrounds), boating and hiking are all available at the state forest property.

Traditionally, most campers at Deam Lake are from small surrounding towns. But Cleary said he sees more families camping than he used to - it’s one reason the park is building four more cabins in addition to its 12.

“I think word’s just getting around to the city people that we offer more than just a beach,” he said.

Cabins are full “all the time,” he said. Forestry staff refer to them as “camping cabins” - in addition to heating and cooling, they offer only the basics like a small table and bed frames with no bedding.

Cabins average $45 a night, while cabins with horse stalls are about $60.

Deam Lake has between 200-225 camp sites, including its horse camps, some with hitching posts and some with barns.

Despite the growing popularity of camping, the beach remains a favorite for locals. On Memorial Day, Cleary said 3,000 to 4,000 people visited the beach alone.

“I love the beach, and this is about as close as you can get,” said Louisville resident Debbie Duncan, who visited Saturday.

Duncan visits a few times every summer. Her first visit was probably 25 years ago, she said.

” … This just has the beach, and you can grill out,” she said. “The guys can go fish if they want to. I like the pool also, but this is just nice for a change every now and then.”

Clarksville resident Kay Thompson said she comes about every summer weekend - and did the same as a child.

Thompson likes the “peace and quiet” of the lake. On Saturday, she brought a cooler full of lunch food and ate at a picnic table under the shade of trees surrounding the lake.

She likes Deam Lake more than outdoor swimming pools.

“There’s just more to do,” she said.

Louisville resident Judy Schroeder visits the lake about once a month. Last weekend, she camped. This weekend was the beach.

“You get here and it’s just an easy dip,” she said.

She brought her sister-in-law Peggy Watrous, a New York resident who was in town. Deam Lake is one of the regular stops any time she visits.

“We just say ‘the lake,’ and this is what we mean,” Watrous said.

By contrast, New York has plenty of lakes - but some aren’t quite as peaceful, she said.

“We were just saying … this lake reminds us of some small lakes we have in what we call the Adirondacks,” Watrous said. “It’s very, very family oriented. Beautiful beach, not commercialized. People are friendly and kind to each other. No motor boats. It’s wonderful.”

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Source: News and Tribune, https://bit.ly/2s8NxRA

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Information from: News and Tribune, Jeffersonville, Ind., https://www.newsandtribune.com

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