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      Mark Twain Lake draws 1.75 million visitors in just 10 months

      Many days this summer, it has seemed too hot for man or beast to venture outside.

      While many of us stayed cooped up with our indoor air conditioning, hundreds of thousands of people trekked out to Mark Twain Lake.

      Park Ranger Mary Heitmeyer told KHQA that visitation was up ten-percent from July 2011 to July 2012. That despite a string of record-breaking temperatures.

      ??We've had a really nice summer, even with the heat,?? Heitmeyer said. ??We've noticed it at the Visitor's Center and certainly at the beaches.??

      From October 2011 through July 2012, 1.75 million people visited Mark Twain Lake. That compares to 1.58 million in the same period the previous year.

      Camping numbers were down this year and launch fees dropped about five percent. The heat and a burn ban at the campgrounds were contributing factors there. The attraction of the new Visitor's Center which opened in the fall of 2011 offset those declines. The beaches were also a big draw. Last year, the beaches were periodically closed because of e-coli contamination.