NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 9, 2019) -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announces recreation facilities affected by a pool of record at Lake Cumberland in February 2019 are reopening earlier than projected.
Corps officials at Lake Cumberland report that Fishing Creek Day Use Area opened May 2; Fishing Creek Campground is opening May 10; Waitsboro Boat Ramp opened March 29; and Waitsboro Campground is opening Memorial Day weekend. Kendall Boat Ramp on the Cumberland River below Wolf Creek Dam received temporary repairs and reopened May 3. Lakeview Boat Ramp also opened May 3.
"The entire staff engaged in clean up and repair work,” said Michael Boles, Lake Cumberland resource manager. “The Corps also used contactors for shoreline cleanup.”
Boles said there were massive amounts of wood and man-made debris deposited in the parks as the lake receded from its high point at elevation 756.52, which greatly impacted Fishing Creek and Waitsboro Campgrounds and day use areas. Electrical pedestals were flooded requiring replacement and state inspection prior to being restored, he added.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers team at Lake Cumberland faced huge challenges and started planning the cleanup efforts well before the water receded. Task orders were placed against the operations and maintenance contract, park rangers and facility management staff staged equipment, rearranged schedules and prepared to roll up their sleeves to assist. Rangers also coordinated with various volunteer groups to remove smaller man-made debris.
Cleanup efforts began when the water receded to the point the facilities could be accessed. Contractors started at the smaller parks located at higher elevations. The Corps quickly restored Cumberland Point Recreation Area to offset impacts at more severely impacted recreation areas.
Remarkably, a contractor removed most of the debris at Fishing Creek in a little over a day. The Corps of Engineers also partnered with the Kentucky Department of Transportation to help remove debris along the roadway at Waitsboro Campground.
“Since the access road to Waitsboro is a Kentucky state road and had been flooded, we partnered with them, providing a disposal site for the debris. We allowed them to stage equipment at our boat ramp parking area. They cleared the state road, giving us a path to the campground entrance,” Boles said.
When the contractors completed work at Fishing Creek, they moved to Waitsboro to begin cleaning where KDOT had stopped. The PRIDE of Lake Cumberland chipped a portion of the wood debris and crews burned larger wood cleared from the various recreation areas.
Contractors and Corps staff then made electrical repairs. They gutted each flooded campsite electrical pedestal and replaced components. State inspectors then cleared Fishing Creek and Waitsboro for power restoration.
High discharges at Wolf Creek Dam during the high water event eroded the river bank damaging nine campsites at Kendall Campground. However, 10 campsites remain closed as an additional campsite is being utilized to accommodate the traffic pattern in the campground.
Initially, the Corps projected that Fishing Creek Campground would remain closed until mid-July, while Waitsboro might even remain closed for the entire 2019 recreation season. But everything came together for an effective response, which allowed the Corps of Engineers to prepare these areas for the 2019 recreation season.
“Teamwork made the difference,” Boles said. “A lot of hard work made it possible to remove more than 15,000 cubic yards of debris and to prepare these recreation areas and campgrounds ahead of schedule.”
The public can obtain information about Lake Cumberland recreation areas and campgrounds, and make reservations by calling 1-877-444-6777 or visiting www.recreation.gov.
The public can also obtain news, updates and information about Lake Cumberland on the lake’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Locations/Lakes/Lake-Cumberland, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lakecumberland.
For more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, visit the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.