NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 24, 2017) – U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District employees maintain some of the largest and most used recreational areas in the country close by in the Cumberland River Basin, not a simple task. Just like preparing a home, an apartment, or a recreational vehicle for the next season, the key to maintaining facilities at campgrounds is planning.
“Planning is the key, but most of that is simply attention to detail and sharing information among colleagues, understanding what the public wants by comments or feedback,” said Greg Thomas, natural resource specialist and facility coordinator.
Facility managers from Cheatham Lake, J. Percy Priest Lake, Old Hickory Lake, Cordell Hull Lake, Center Hill Lake, Dale Hollow Lake, Lake Barkley, and Lake Cumberland attended a conference March 7-9, 2017 at the Cheatham Lake Resource Managers Office in Ashland City, Tenn. They shared and discussed information on contract procedures, operations, safety, deadlines, timelines, facility upgrades, and use of geospatial and geographic information systems.
The three-day conference gave facility managers across the district a chance to meet before many of the campgrounds open within the next few weeks. Most campgrounds are expecting many visitors.
“It is great that we meet to share and discuss key information for our areas,” said Tony Crow, facility manager at Center Hill Lake. “We have some of the best public lakes, camping facilities and fishing in the country. All of our camp sites usually fill up quickly and are used often which requires maintenance to keep them operating.”
The facility managers spent the fall and winter months preparing, planning, and scheduling upgrades for the district’s 146 recreation areas, 25 developed campgrounds and primitive camping areas in Kentucky and Tennessee for upcoming activities this spring and summer.
“There’s little projects that sometimes need detailed attention,” said Thomas. “These include painting, road paving, and replacement of shower and campground station facilities.”
Thomas explained that facility managers keep a close watch on work order requests, maintenance schedules, asset tracking, inventory control and providing great customer service to millions of visitors each year.
“We have gotten better each year as we learn what each site needs and what the public wants,” said Thomas. “When you look at the big picture, work really never stops when it comes to maintaining camping and boating facilities.”
Eight of the 10 lakes in the Nashville District have at least two Corps of Engineers managed campgrounds and many of the campgrounds have fishing areas, playgrounds, restrooms, electric hookups, shower houses, sewage hookups and laundry facilities.
Corps recreation areas located on those lakes offer ready access to a variety of camping, fishing, boating, sailing, water-skiing, swimming, bird watching, hiking and hunting opportunities. Camping facilities range from primitive to paved pads with full hook-ups for trailers and RVs.
Crow said visitors have the opportunity to fill out comment cards which are collected from boxes placed near the park attendant offices. Positive and negative comments are recorded, gathered and improvements are adjusted according to the public’s request.
“We want visitors to come have the best experience they possibly can,” said Crow. “We have learned to be flexible. I think we do a great job, especially what we do with a limited budget.”
Mark Klimaszewski, natural resources specialist with the Nashville District, said the district’s 25 campgrounds are unique because they are closely situated adjacent to area lakes. Because of this, they are located minutes from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers managed boat ramps and commercial marinas.
Klimaszewski said the Defeated Creek Campground at Cordell Hull Lake opened its gate Wednesday, March 15, making it the first of the Nashville District’s campgrounds to open for the 2017 recreation season.
A complete list of Nashville District campgrounds and corresponding details is available here. Campers are able to make reservations 180 days in advance through the National Recreation Reservation Service by calling toll free at 1-877-444-6777 or online at www.recreation.gov.
Thomas said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some of the best recreational facilities in the country.
“We’re hoping the 2017 season will be great for everyone,” said Thomas. Our goal to provide a safe, enjoyable recreation experience for every one of our visitors.”
(For more news and information 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.)