NR 19-004: Lake Cumberland closes Waitsboro Recreation Area

Published Feb. 13, 2019

SOMERSET, Ky. (Feb. 13, 2019) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is temporarily closing Lake Cumberland’s Waitsboro Recreation Area for public safety.

Lake Cumberland Park Ranger Judy Daulton said the parking lot and boat ramp are mostly submerged and the boat ramp’s lanes are not visible, making it unsafe to keep the recreation area open until the water recedes. 

“Under the current circumstances, we just don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Daulton said. “This is why we are closing the recreation area until the situation improves.”

Water managers at the Nashville District headquarters in Nashville, Tenn., said the lake elevation as of noon today is 735.4 feet, which is 32 feet higher than the historical median for mid-February.  Wolf Creek Dam is discharging water at a rate of 30,000 cubic feet per second but more rainfall is in the forecast for this weekend into next week. This could potentially make the lake rise even higher.

Wolf Creek Dam provides flood control benefits for communities downstream. The water management plan designates Celina, Tenn., as the downstream control point. The flow at Celina, which is made up of discharges from Wolf Creek Dam and Dale Hollow Dam as well as the 583 square miles of uncontrolled watershed below the dams, is maintained at or below 40,000 cfs.

“The project is operated to provide flood control benefits for downstream,” said Robert Dillingham, hydraulic engineer in the Water Management Section. “We will continue releasing as much water as downstream conditions allow in an effort to regain storage in the reservoir and lower the elevation as quickly as possible.” 

Lake Cumberland hasn't exceeded elevation 740 since it crested at 742.4 in April 1998.  The pool of record is 751.69 set in May 1984.

The Corps is posting updates regarding the closure at Waitsboro Recreation Area on the lake’s Facebook page at

For more information about how the Nashville District operates the Cumberland River Reservoir System, see the Water Management Education Series at

As necessary, news and information regarding water management and flood operations will be made available on the district’s website at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter at For more information about the Memphis District (Mississippi River), go to For more information about the Louisville District (lower Ohio River), go to

Lee Roberts

Release no. 19-004