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Ideal fall-like weather draws visitors to Corps lakes

Nashville District Public Affairs
Published Sept. 9, 2016
Campers at the Waitsboro campground in Somerset, Ky., unload gear from their camper.  The campground is nestled on the shoreline of beautiful Lake Cumberland, which is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.

Campers at the Waitsboro campground in Somerset, Ky., unload gear from their camper. The campground is nestled on the shoreline of beautiful Lake Cumberland, which is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.

Campers at the Waitsboro campground in Somerset, Ky., unload gear from their camper.  The campground is nestled on the shoreline of beautiful Lake Cumberland, which is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.

Campers at the Waitsboro campground in Somerset, Ky., unload gear from their camper. The campground is nestled on the shoreline of beautiful Lake Cumberland, which is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 9, 2016) – With the hot days of summer behind us and the cooler weather around the corner, now is a perfect time to enjoy life at a Corps campground. 

“As the hot days give way to cool fall temperatures, it’s a great time for campers to get maximum use of their RV’s before putting them back into storage or to stake a tent at a Nashville District campground where they can expect an enjoyable experience,” said Mark Klimaszewski, a natural resources specialist with the Nashville District. 

People who love cool fresh air and enjoy beautiful lakeside views should make time this year to stay at one of the 25 campgrounds nestled along the Cumberland River and its tributaries that are operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District.

Outdoor activities such as hiking and horseback riding on Corps trails are popular in September and early October when temperatures are cooler.  Less insects and wild animals.  The bank fishing near campsites and easy access for boaters to secluded coves is also a plus for anglers. 

“A lot of campers stay at our campgrounds just to take advantage of the rich fishing in the fall.  In particular, trout and crappie fishing has been exceptional at most of the Nashville District lakes.  Many campers go out of their way to stay at Corps of Engineers campgrounds while on fishing trips,” Klimaszewski said.

Seventeen Corps campgrounds were featured as the top campgrounds in Tennessee by the Triple blaze adventure website and magazine.  Lock A campground, located on Cheatham Lake in Ashland City, Tenn was rated highest.

Jeff Barber, website editor, said Triple blaze ranks campgrounds based on the number of reviews for a campground, average review of a campground, number of Triple blaze members who have camped there and number of members who plan or want to camp there.

“Camping is definitely becoming more of a year-round activity. In the past, traditional tent campers were left out in the cold but today, more and more people are using innovative camping shelters like converted Sprinter vans and vehicle rooftop tents,” said Barber.

Barber said visitors often provide positive feedback that they really like camping at Nashville District lakes because the camp sites and facilities are so well kept and they enjoy recreating because of the easy access to trails, boat ramps, fishing spots, and swimming areas.

Klimaszewski said the Lock A campground is staffed by the Envirosmart company.   The group of contracted employees work closely with the Cheatham resource manager and park rangers daily to keep the facilities clean at the Campground and other recreation areas at Cheatham Lake.

“I think our facilities are in great shape, kept very well and we try to do our best to keep these very well maintained,” Klimaszewski said.  “We have some of the most beautiful campgrounds in the country and the staff does a great job at keeping the campsites updated.”

In September campgrounds begin to close for campers at Cheatham Lake, Dale Hollow Lake, J. Percy Priest Lake and Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee, and Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.  Ten more campgrounds will close in October, including those at Center Hill Lake and Cordell Hull Lake in Tennessee, and Lake Barkley in Kentucky.

A complete list of Nashville District campgrounds is available on the district’s website http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Camping, and at the popular website www.recreation.gov.  The list includes information about availability, electric hookups, fees, dates of operation, visitor fees and contact numbers.  It also includes links for each campground and provides more in-depth information about the facilities and allows users to make online reservations. Telephone reservations can also be made toll free at 1-877-444-6777.

Campers are reminded that while the district’s campgrounds are not as busy in September and October as compared to midsummer, after the Labor Day holiday, weekends still remain busy and are among the most utilized Corps of Engineers campgrounds in the entire country.  Visitors should always plan ahead and make reservations, which can be made up to six months in advance.

Klimaszewski said the camping facilities at the Nashville District lakes are well maintained.  Routine maintenance will be done during the winter months to make sure the campgrounds are ready for the 2017 recreation season.

Klimaszewski said the Corps has planned maintenance during the off season to make improvements at the campgrounds, which includes repairing the plumbing, painting buildings, trimming trees, performing electrical work, installing new grills, and putting gravel down at campsites.

When camping, Klimaszewski stresses that campers should never leave a fire unattended or leave trash and food out where wild animals are tempted to enter the area and feed.  He said it’s very important to be respectful of other campers and parents should always accompany their children to the public use facilities located in the campgrounds.

Most campgrounds are positioned near lakes, so Klimaszewski also recommends being familiar with water safety.  Adults and children should wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket when playing or fishing close to the water at the lake.  He suggests keeping a close eye on kids and pets at all times, be aware of nearby activities, and avoid excessive alcohol – especially if operating a boat. 

 Corps Campgrounds listed on the top Triple Blaze 100 list are:

4.  Lock A, Ashland City, Tenn.

6.  Defeated Creek Park, Carthage, Tenn.

8.  Salt Lick Creek, Gainesboro, Tenn.

15.  Cedar Creek, Mt. Juliet, Tenn.

17.  Dale Hollow Damsite, Celina, Tenn.

21.  Cages Bend, Gallatin, Tenn.

24.  Willow Grove Campground, Dale Hollow Lake Allons, Tenn.

28.  Tailwater Rec Area, Carthage, Tennessee

41.  Cheatham Lock And Dam Ashland City, Tenn.

48.  Old Hickory Lock and Dam, Hendersonville, Tenn.

52.  Lillydale Rec Area, Allons, Tenn.

54.  Pleasant Grove Recreation Area, Celina, Tenn.

58.  Cordell Hull Dam And Reservoir, Carthage, Tenn.

59.  Bumpus Mills, Grand Rivers, Tenn.

68.  Center Hill Lake, Lancaster, Tenn.

93.  Shutes Branch, Old Hickory, Tenn.

94.  Smith Springs, Antioch, Tenn.

Campers may make their reservations 180 days in advance and picnic shelter reservations 360 days in advance. The Recreation Reservation Service (Recreation.gov) is taking reservations at this toll free telephone number, 1-877-444-6777. Campers can also make reservations on the Web at http://www.recreation.gov/.

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