Boatloads Of Changes Are In Store At Lewis & Clark Marina

Work has begun on a two-year project to reconfigure and expand the boat docks and slips at the Lewis & Clark Marina west of Yankton. The work is expected to pick up steam after the summer season in order to not interfere with the boaters who use the marina.

There are boatloads of changes in store at Lewis & Clark Marina.

Construction is underway on an update of the docks at the marina, located west of Yankton off Highway 52. By the spring of 2023, the docks are expected to be new and reconfigured to run north and south from shore to bay side, creating a single east-west water access channel, according to a letter sent out to slip holders about the project.

The approximately $7 million improvement project, being undertaken by owner Donlin Marine, is expected to add about 66 slips to the current 409, maxing out the existing marina’s capacity, said Heath Denney, general manager of the Lewis and Clark Marina.

Current construction, which is being done by Tiger Docks of Wright City, Missouri, is focused on the south side for now.

“For 2021, it’s just a relocation of the existing docks, and we’ll add two new smaller docks this year for our 24-foot boats,” he said. “Then for 2022, hopefully, we’re ripping those docks out and then putting in brand new ones. Then, we continue down the line with upgrading them all.”

Heath said the existing marina docks were installed about 40 years ago.

“This will bring more slips and upgraded slips,” he said. “We’re trying to make it easier and safer (with single-channel access) for our current slip holders. Also, the electrical that runs through is pretty old, so we want to update all that.”

Also the types of boats people use more these days have changed since the docks were put in.

“People’s choices in boats have definitely changed the last five years,” Heath said. “There are more pontoons and open-bow boats, more of your runabouts, who wants slips.”

When completed, docks on the north side of the marina will be longer, accommodating larger restroom and parking facilities than those to the south side, he said.

The boat ramp at Lewis & Clark Marina is currently closed to facilitate construction.

“Our regular marina season, starts May 1- Oct. 15, so we’re trying to launch boats and also do this dock (project) at the same time,” Heath said. “It’s congested right now, but the goal is to have everybody in the water by Memorial Day weekend.”

Once the summer is over, construction can continue until the water freezes, and then work will pick up again after it thaws in the spring, he said.

“The reason we can’t just rip out all the docks and rebuild them is that we don’t want any one of our 400 current slip holders to have to sit out a year,” Heath said. “We’re doing a couple of docks at a time. That way, no current slip holder is left out.”

The expansion is also expected to help with the sometimes 400-person-long waiting list to get a slip at the marina, he said, adding that area population isn’t getting any smaller.

“During the COVID year, the state park area and the marina saw a huge boom in in tourists, people coming into the park system to utilize what we have,” Heath said. “So the idea came to try to keep up with the growing change in people’s demands.”

(1) comment


I first moved to Yankton in May of 1962 (was in Yankton til September of 1964; returned in September of 1967 to June of 1978). I was nearly mesmerized by the Lewis & Clark Lake area upon my first time seeing it. It was and still is Magnificent! I last visited Yankton and the Lake area in September of 2016. I will be 81 in June, and, likely, sadly will never return to Yankton, my all time Favorite town! I loved, right off the bat....Yankton's history; the Capitol of Dakota Territory. Lawrence WNAX Radio. I was an Announcer at KYNT, thus, because I was in Radio, I had an "attachment." Wild Bill Hickock's killer was convicted in Yankton, at the former Charles Gurney with apartments. I also lived for around 9 months at the Gurney, with my the apartment there. Elza Anderson and his Wife (darn, I can't recall her name) owned and managed the hotel all the years I was there (1967-78). I and my late wife, Vel, always enjoyed dining at the Hotel....and visiting with Elsa and his wife. Also, even though Yankton was less than 10,000 population, it seemed Yankton was an important city in South Dakota. I love South Dakota. My home state is Nebraska...and, yes, I love (as my wife did) Nebraska. But, I always felt more important in Yankton. I had a good relationship with KYNT'S Co-Owner, Lloyd Reedstrom (famed for his Lloyd Grant and Grandpa Winpenny days at WNAX. I also had met, at a Chamber event, Wynn Speece, the "Neighbor Lady" at WNAX. Always had a cordial relationship with Wynn. I am not recalling the name of the Chamber of Commerce Manager...but, always had a good relationship with him. I first visited Yankton sometime in the late 1940s or so, with my parents. Always had a memory of the Bridge. We also visted the WNAX studios...where we walked up the long outside stairs on the old original WXNA Building. My Mom verified our visit. Also, since my departure in June of 1978....many improvements have been made along the Missouri River. And, the new bridge. But, the old bridge still has magic for me. Hope it stands forever. Yes, I still love Yankton and the Lake area! My late wife & I did live for a little over a year in Spencer, Iowa...where I was an announcer at KICD AM-FM, a very good station. It was a few miles south of Spirit Lake and other Lakes, but, was not a place of me, anyway. Seems like there were shacks along the coastline. Traffic, on the Weekends, was jammed. Those lakes likely have more notoriety, but, for beauty....they cannot compare to LEWIS & CLARK! Yes, on the Nebraska side, it is also super! Love both sides! Yankton People Love & Cherrish the LEWIS & CLARK LAKE AREA! Super, Super, Super! Gary Lukert, Emporia, KS.

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