Named for the winter stopover used by Mormon emigrants heading westward, Mormon Island State Recreation Area still offers comfort and conveniences to campers and other travelers on Interstate 80, as part of Nebraska's unique "Chain of Lakes." With development of I-80 in the early 1960s, then Game and Parks Commission Director Mel Steen saw the potential to create recreation and beauty out of the "borrow pits" left as fill material was removed for construction. These pits would quickly fill with water because of the high water table in the Platte Valley. Why not use this "Chain of Lakes" to beautify the roadway and at the same time create some model recreation areas, Steen reasoned. The first of these areas developed was Mormon Island. This area and companion Windmill SRA near Gibbon are the most intensely developed, because of their ready access to travelers. Similar less developed areas also serve campers and picnickers, while many less accessible sites are set aside as state wildlife areas for fishermen and hunters. Stretching for 160 miles between Grand Island and Hershey, these little lakes range from 6 acres to Mormon Island's 46 acres ... the fulfillment of a vision brought to reality.