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Posted 5/7/2018

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By Mark Rankin
Nashville District Public Affairs


CELINA, Tenn. (May 7, 2018) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District presented staff members of the Kentucky State Police Trooper Island Camp on Dale Hollow Lake, certificates of appreciation.

In January 2018, the U.S. Federal Government partially shut down and it affected nation-wide federal services which included parks.  Trooper Island staff members used their barge to pick up watchers from the Lillydale Recreation Area and others at Dale Hollow Resort State park for the annual Eagle Watch tour at Dale Hollow Lake.

Tim Dunn, deputy chief of operations presented the awards.

“We thank you for helping the Nashville District out and we appreciate our partnership with the Trooper Island camp staff,” said Dunn.  “With the use of the island’s barge and staff, they ensured us and the folks that come to see the eagles, the continuation of an annual program that has introduced and enabled thousands of visitors over the years to view and learn about our national symbol in the wild.

Spencer Taylor, Dale Hollow park ranger, said every year sightseers come from all around the area to board an open barge, and explore for eagles along the Dale Hollow Lake shoreline.  Dale Hollow Lake covers 28,000 acres and straddles the Cumberland County and Clinton County in both Tennessee and Kentucky. 

Taylor who is usually on the barge during the tours, said without the efforts of Trooper 1st Class Jonathan Biven and the Trooper Island staff, this event would unfortunately been canceled and would have disappointed several members of the public that anticipate and travel long distances to participate in the special program.

“People come from all over the country,” said Taylor.  “They come from Ohio, Virginia, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee come as far as St. Louis, Nashville, Memphis, Alabama and Kentucky.  Some people have been on these tours for 20 to 30 years.” 

Dunn said Biven and his staff went the extra mile to help the staff at Dale Hollow Lake and are a credit to the service of the Kentucky State Police and a valued partner with the Dale Hollow Lake Community and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  

Each year on the third and fourth Saturday of January park rangers and staff from the lake have hosted the annual Eagle Watch tour at Dale Hollow Lake.  The barge picks up its first watchers from Lillydale Recreation Area and others at Dale Hollow Resort State park.

Biven said Trooper Island and the Corps have a great working partnership and each year during the summer months, Bobby Bartlett, a seasonal park ranger at Dale Hollow Lake teaches water safety classes to campers.

Trooper Island is a youth camp that has been developed by the Kentucky State Police as part of a long range public service program for the youth of Kentucky.  

The program serves 700 Kentucky boys and girls who are at-risk or underprivileged each year.  Trooper Island Camp was developed in 1965 by the Kentucky State Police as part of a long-range program of public service to the youth of Kentucky. Spearheaded by former State police director, Col. James E. Bassett, the idea was to establish a permanent recreational site where troopers and children could share a weeklong experience. The free summer camp is for underprivileged boys and girls. 

Campers who are selected that may not otherwise have an opportunity to attend a camp anywhere else.

A location was selected in a secluded corner of Dale Hollow Lake in southern Kentucky, where an island was leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Taylor said the tour is popular and unique because the barge journeys around the lake spotting various shoreline nesting areas and it provides better chances to not only see one or two eagles, but sometimes even five to 15.

“People seem to have an interest in seeing eagles so folks come from all over the country to ride the barge with us scanning the treetops in search of wintering bald eagles at Dale Hollow Lake,” said Taylor.

Staff that received awards are:

Jonathan Bivens, Jeffrey Brown, Austin Brown, (not pictured are Robert Smith, and James Pickens)

 (The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on 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. The public can also follow Dale Hollow Lake on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dalehollowlake and Dale Hollow Eagle Cam at http://www.daleholloweaglecam.com)