Monroe Lake November 2023 E-Newsletter

Monroe Lake
November 2023 E-Newsletter

  • Upgrades coming to Paynetown SRA
  • Winter Facility Hours
  • Monroe Lake Appreciation Week, Oct. 16-22
  • Ghostly Gathering, Oct. 27-29
  • Elkinsville History Tour, Nov. 8
  • 4th Annual Monroe Lake Holiday Hiking Challenge, Nov. 23-26
  • Winter Tree ID Hike, Dec. 6
  • Winter Crafts & Scavenger Hunt Open House, Dec. 17
  • Upcoming Virtual Programs
  • Virtual Program Collection: View on demand!

Monroe Lake Website:
Monroe Lake Program & Event Calendar:
Monroe Lake on Facebook: 

Upgrades coming to Paynetown SRA

Work on these projects is expected to be completed in early December. During the construction period, you may encounter traffic delays on the SRA entrance road and temporary facility closures. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause, but these are much-needed projects that will greatly benefit our property in the long term.

  • IN PROGRESS: Comfort Station #1 in the electric campground is CLOSED for demolition and construction. This is the comfort station directly west of the campground gatehouse in the A-Loop of the campground. We are aware that October is peak camping season, making the timing of this project inconvenient. Three other comfort stations in the A-Loop and one in the B-Loop will remain open for camper use through October. Comfort Station #1 will be replaced with a new structure in November and be ready for camper use in the spring.
  • Coming soon: Installation of two additional pump-outs at the campground dump station.
  • IN PROGRESS: Rehab of the sewer systems for the campground, beach house/activity center, and marina.
  • Coming soon: Replacement of the large culverts underneath the entrance road.

Winter Facility Hours

  • The Monroe Lake office will remain open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October. Beginning in November, it will be closed on weekends but remain open on weekdays (except for state holidays).
  • The Paynetown Activity Center will remain open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. through the end of October. After that, it will close for the season, opening during the winter and spring only for scheduled public programs.
  • Comfort stations in the campground at Paynetown SRA will remain open through October. In November, we will begin the winterization process, which will progressively close each comfort station. If you are camping in the first half of November, please call the office at 812-837-9546 to see if any comfort stations are still available. We will also shut off water to the campground in early November, but one frost-free faucet is available year-round.
  • For info on winter closure plans at the Two Herons Marina, Lake Monroe Boat Rental, Fairfax Marina, and the general store at Paynetown SRA, please contact those businesses directly (they are privately owned and operated).

Monroe Lake Appreciation Week, Oct. 16-22

Are you one of the 2 million+ people who visit the reservoir annually for water recreation, hiking, birdwatching, camping, or more? Maybe you’re one of more than 80,000 people in Bloomington who rely on the reservoir for their drinking water. It’s time to show your appreciation for Monroe Lake. If you love it, help clean it! For the complete schedule of activities, check out the event page at or visit the Monroe Lake Online Calendar.


  • 5-gallon Bucket Challenge: Bring a 5-gallon bucket with you to the lake, fill it with trash and you could win one of two deluxe “boat bags” for holding trash and recyclables (they work great for camping too)! Details: *No registration needed
  • Monroe Lake MONSTER Cleanup on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 1 p.m.: Must register by Oct. 20. Limited to 50 people, ages 10 and up only (ages 10-17 must be with an adult). Details and registration: *34 spots available


Tours will be given on Saturday, Oct. 21. Each tour is limited to 12 people, ages 12 and up only (ages 12-17 must be with an adult).

Ghostly Gathering, Oct. 27-29

Our annual Halloween event! All activities are open to both campers and day visitors. With the exception of the “Ghosts” of Allens Creek Hike, all programs take place at Paynetown State Recreation Area. All electric campsites are currently booked, but non-electric campsites are still available at  

For details on the below activities, check out the event page at or visit the Monroe Lake Online Calendar.

ALL WEEKEND: Ghostly Gathering Nature Photo Hunt


  • 3 p.m.: Animals of Halloween
  • 5 to 6:30 p.m.: Slime Time at Campground Playground
  • 7:00 p.m.: Halloween BINGO
  • 7:45 p.m.: Skins and Skulls Campfire


  • 9:30 to 11 a.m.: Ghostly Games
  • 12:30 to 2 p.m.: Creepy, Crawly Crafts
  • 3:30 to 5 p.m.: Mystery Boxes
  • 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.: Trick-or-Treating & Campsite Decorating Contest


  • 10 to noon: Pumpkin Bird
  • 1 p.m.: “Ghosts” of Allens Creek Hike, Limited to 15 people; registration required by 10/27., Details and registration: *FULL, waitlist available at registration link

Elkinsville History Tour, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m.

Join us for a combination driving and walking tour through the “town that was!” Elkinsville was once a center of commerce and community for a remote part of Brown County. That all changed with the construction of Monroe Reservoir. Discover the history of this town, walk its former main street, and find out what happened to it after the lake went in. Tour meets at the Story Inn in Story, IN. 2 hrs 30 min (including drive time). Sign up at by Nov. 5. Cost is $10 per person. Limited to 14 people; recommended for ages 14 and up.

4th Annual Monroe Lake Holiday Hiking Challenge, Nov. 23-26

We challenge you to forget about shopping and holiday stress, and spend your time outside instead exploring the beauty of the outdoors along our Monroe Lake trails! The Holiday Hiking Challenge consists of hiking all of Monroe Lake’s trails and completing the challenge activities! Each of our trails will have at least one challenge station where you will need to complete the posted activity and take a photo to document it. Everyone who completes the challenge and submits their photo set by the deadline will be entered into the prize drawing! FULL DETAILS ON THE EVENT WEBSITE AT

Winter Tree ID Hike, Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. (Paynetown SRA)

Do you find tree ID to be a struggle after the leaves have fallen? Then join us for this easy 1-hour hike to learn the basics of winter tree ID! We’ll show you how to look at things like bark, branch patterns, twig color, and leaf scars to ID a mystery tree. Free, but registration is required at by Dec. 4. Recommended for teens and adults.

Winter Crafts & Scavenger Hunt Open House, Dec. 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. (Paynetown SRA)

No registration, just DROP BY the Paynetown Activity Center (located next to the beach) to make a couple of seasonal crafts and complete a short winter-themed photo scavenger hunt! We encourage you to make it a complete afternoon by enjoying a hike on our park trails before or after.

Upcoming Virtual Programs on Facebook LIVE

  • Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 11 a.m.: Winter Weeds. There is really no difference between plants and weeds; weeds are simply plants growing where they are not wanted. Some of these plants remain standing throughout the winter, and these are referred to as winter weeds. Jill Vance, Monroe Lake’s Interpretive Naturalist, will introduce you to some of the most common of these winter weeds in southern Indiana and teach you how to recognize them. Stream at
  • Tuesday, December 19 at 11 a.m.: Liking Lichen. Lichens are nature’s artwork. As colorful blotches they cover almost all of nature’s canvas… the bark of a tree, dead wood, bare rock, or barren soil. But why do they grow in such a variety of peculiar shapes? What causes all the splendid colors? How can they live virtually without any soil? Explore the science of lichen with Monroe Lake’s Interpretive Naturalist, Jill Vance! Stream at

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