Missouri pol trying to clean up Party Cove

Joyce L. Miller

The antics and lewd behavior at Party Cove send the wrong message, according to state Representative Wayne Cooper, and he intends to do something about it.

The 2008 session goal for Cooper, R-Camdenton, will be to come up with legislative initiatives to put a damper on the activities in Party Cove. He wants to pass laws that ban the display of breasts on Missouri waterways and crack down on sexual misconduct in public places to clean up what Cooper describes as a disgrace to the lake area community.

“This is a priority,” he said. “We should not tolerate this type of behavior. Lake of the Ozarks receives national attention and Party Cove sends a message that makes a mockery of morality. And we must fend off the possible sexual exploitation of young women or minors who may unknowingly victimized when they show up on video filmed in Party Cove.”

Cooper says as a member of the local community, he feels tackling the issues through the legislature is the right thing to do.

Earlier this summer, the Missouri Water Patrol stepped up enforcement in Party Cove, cracking down on full body nudity, public displays of sexual acts, and drugs in an effort to clean up the behavior of some who party at the lake.

Water Patrol officials said the stepped up enforcement helped but did not put a stop to it.

Cooper feels more needs to be done and the only way to do it is through the legislature.

Party Cove is one of the lake’s hottest destination spots with an estimated 2,500 boats moored in the cove on any given weekend. The boats congregate along what is referred to as the gauntlet, a path that winds through the anchored boats.

The Water Patrol keeps officers in the area to maintain order. But at times, the order turns almost chaotic. Alcohol and sex are plentiful. Earlier this summer, Col. Rad Talburt, the commander of the Water Patrol, said if he had his way, he’d break up the summer-long antics in Party Cove and put an end to the pranks and rude and raunchy behavior that have made the spot a must-see destination for thousands of boaters every weekend.

There is no mechanism on the books that would allow the Water Patrol to shut the party down.

If Cooper is successful and gets some tighter laws passed, it could at least slow the party down.

Lake of the Ozarks has had a Party Cove for more than two decades.

Party Cove has been located in Anderson Hollow Cove, part of Lake of the Ozarks State Park at the 4-mile marker on the Grand Glaize Arm, since the mid-1990s. Its popularity has grown steadily over the years and has drawn national notoriety for its anything-goes atmosphere on weekends.

Prior to moving to Anderson Hollow Cove, Party Cove was in the 6-mile and then 14-mile coves. Development in those areas forced the party to relocate.

Lake Sun Leader

Contact this reporter at joycem@lakesunleader.com.