NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 26, 2022) – The Nashville District officially kicks off the recreation season Memorial Day weekend. Visitors to the district’s recreation areas will notice a few changes, updates, and attractions enhancing the recreation experience.
While change remains the only constant in life, safety measures are unwavering.
National Safe Boating Week kicked off on May 21, 2022. Recreational boating and water activities are enjoyed by millions of Americans each year. It’s important to remember, regardless of age or experience level, wearing life jackets save lives. Make the pledge this summer to always wear a life jacket when on the water.
Swimming and shoreline fishing should only occur in designated areas. Swimming in the tailwaters near the dam can pose a serious threat. Lake Cumberland and Laurel River Lake Park Ranger Codey Hensley reminds visitors of the dangers in tailwaters near the dam. “The water can rush in fast,” so people who fish or swim in these areas need to pay attention to their surroundings.
When engaging in activities on the water, it’s important to always wear a properly fitting life jacket and have proper safety equipment. If recreating on a boat, ensure life jackets are worn from the dam to boat ramp. Also, make sure a working fire extinguisher is available and easily accessible on all watercrafts.
Dehydration and heat exhaustion are additional safety hazards to pay attention to during the recreation season. Even though water can cool the body off, swimming while dehydration puts people at a greater risk for drowning. Drink water before heading out, continue to replenish throughout the day, and don’t enter the water when feeling fatigued.
David Robinson, natural resources specialist at Martins Fork Lake, encourages visitors, “Be smart on the water. Think before you act.”
Fee collection at Lakes Barkley, Center Hill, Cheatham, Cordell Hull, Lake Cumberland, Dale Hollow, Old Hickory and J. Percy Priest is cashless. Visitors to Lake Cumberland still can pay with cash this recreation season. However, the area will transition to fully cashless in 2023.
The new automation service allows for pass administration and fee collection in a convenient, touchless, and safe manner.
Ashley Webster, park ranger at Center Hill Lake, said, “The automated pay system ensures visitors don’t have to go through the hassle of carrying cash or finding an ATM, to pay their fees.”
Currently, 19 VenTek cashless pay machines are in operation at all eight lakes, in the same existing fee collection areas. When purchasing a yearly or lifetime pass, the pay machines will issue two receipts; return the second receipt to any day use or campground booth, or resource office within 10 days, to receive a hard-copy pass.
Mitchell Crockarell, natural resources specialist at Cheatham Lake, hopes the automated system will help alleviate traffic entering the lake. “Collecting cash fees by hand creates a bottleneck at the entrance, backing traffic all the way up the hill,” he said. “The machines will help streamline and speed up the process of getting people into the park.”
Additional changes across the recreation areas include:
Center Hill Lake
Hurricane Bridge recreation area has a change to usage rates. All personal vehicles coming through will incur a $5 charge, while commercial vehicles will pay $20.
The Johnson’s Chapel recreation area now has a volunteer on site to conduct light maintenance work, oversee parking, and answer questions visitors may have.
Additional primitive camping sites are available for $8/night. Visit https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/10128465 for more information.
Old Kuttawa Recreation area has been updated with four new picnic sites near the swimming beach. These sites will make it easier for families to enjoy a picnic while the children play nearby.
The addition of swing sets at Canal Campground provides young recreation goers extra options for play. The new swings are conveniently located between the playground and swimming beach.
The courtesy docks at Canal Campground, Double Creek, and Calhoun Hill have a fresh new look. The docks have new decking and bumper material to protect the boats from damage and provide a safer boat launching experience.
As part of the wildlife management program, Cheatham Lake has pollinator gardens. The public can find pollinator gardens on a seven-acre plot at the Harpeth River Bridge area and a two-acre plot at Cheatham Lake.
Laurel River Lake
Visitors will see a new vault toilet is now in use, replacing the compost toilets previously available.
The west side of the lake has a new fresh look with the addition of new sand over the entire spillway swim beach!
The Waitsboro recreation area has an access ramp on the day use shelter overlooking Burnside and Somerset. The ramp now provides access to two, previously inaccessible picnic areas.
The “PRIDE of the Cumberland” is operating and cleaning Lake Cumberland’s waterways and shorelines of logs, debris, and trash. Visitors to Lake Cumberland can see this spectacular craft in action as it travels the lake making it safer and more enjoyable to all.
The Nashville District recreation areas have something to offer everyone. Whether a planned vacation getaway, or an unplanned weekend adventure, visitors can enjoy an array of activities from kayaking and trout fishing to sunbathing and hiking, and everything in between. Whatever the activity, planned or unplanned, keep in mind these wise words from Webster, “Plan to be safe!”
(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.