Melvern Lake has 6,930 surface acres of water and 17,244 acres of adjacent land that serve as the nucleaus of recreational and natural resource activities for more than 500,000 visitors annually.
The entire project lies on the eastern edge of the Flint Hills region of Kansas. This region is characterized by gently rolliing hills covered with tall native grasses. Native woodlands occur in the bottomlands along the tributaries of the Marais des Cygnes River.
Visitors looking for outdoor recreation will have a full day at Melvern Lake. The lake boasts six parks (five managed by the Army Core of Engineers and one managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife Parks) that offer a wide range of facilities. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are nature trails, an equstrian trail, local historic sites, hunting areas, a full-service marina, and an interpretive information center.
User fees are charged for camping in most parks operated by the Corps of Engineers. Fees are based on a per camping unit per night system. The fees are used for operating and maintaining the parks. Golden Age and Golden Access Passports are available to qualified US citizens. Cardholders are entitled to a 50% discount on camping fees. Passports can be obtained at the Project Office year round or at the fee booths during the recreation season.