Commonwealth Journal

March 24, 2013

Pulaski County ready for tourists as Lake Cumberland’s waters rise

by Bill Mardis
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset —  

Latest information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicates Wolf Creek Dam is now safe and a promised 20-foot rise in the level of Lake Cumberland this summer makes the upcoming vacation season something special.
Pulaski County and nearby counties have numerous recreational areas, most of which overlook Lake Cumberland. Many of these vacation spots are open now or will open within the next week or so. All will be up and going by the middle of May, and vacationers will view the rising lake with pride.
The golf course at General Burnside Island State Park stays open year-round. The park and golf course are located on an island surrounded by Lake Cumberland. Brian Ault, designer of golf courses at Dale Hollow Lake and Hidden Cove, both recognized by Golf Digest, designed the spectacular golf layout on Burnside island.
The campground at the Burnside state park features 94 sites with utility hookups, two central service buildings with showers and rest rooms, and a dump station. The campground will open April 1.
Pulaski County Park also opens April 1. The park has been used throughout the low-water period, but is expected to attract larger crowds this summer because of a higher lake level. Located on the upper end of the Fishing Creek section of Lake Cumberland, the county park has been pretty much dry-docked since the lake has been low.
“I don’t know about the beach,” said Manager Vickie McQueary. “I don’t know how far the water will come up ... I don’t know if the beach will be usable or not.”
Boats should be able to launch at the main boat ramp off the primitive camping area, McCreary said. Also, the new bike trail at the park is open and in use, she noted.
Pulaski County Park is located in western Pulaski County and is owned and operated by Pulaski Fiscal Court. The park offers picnic areas, grills, shelters, 46 camping sites, playground and an 18-hole disc golf course, plus hiking trails.
Judy Daulton, park ranger for the Corps of Engineers, is readying Corps-operated recreational areas for the coming vacation season.
Fishing Creek Recreation Area opens May 10. The boat-launching ramp, out of the water for the past six summers because of the low lake level, will be usable this summer in the higher water.
“As long as the lake stays above 700 feet (above sea level) the launching ramp can be used,” Daulton said. The normal launching fee of $3 will be waived at Fishing Creek this summer, she said. Fees will be charged elsewhere.
The campground at Fishing Creek offers 26 RV sites and 20 tent-only sites, all with electric hookups. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, drinking water, laundry facilities and a dump station.
Fishing Creek also has a day-use area, picnic sites and a playground, making it an ideal spot for large parties and family functions.
Waitsboro Recreation Area, origin-ally scheduled to open April 5, won’t open until May 15 because the Kentucky Department of Transpor-tation is repairing the road leading down to the site, Daulton said.
The campground offers 17 RV sites, all with electric hookups, and five tent-only sites. Eight of Waitsboro's sites are on the waterfront, making prime locations for weekend recreation.
Amenities include flush toilets, showers, drinking water, laundry facilities and a dump station. A day-use area with a group picnic shelter and a parking area is also available.
Kendall Recreation Area immed-iately below Wolf Creek Dam opened March 15. The nearby tailwater of the dam is one of the most popular trout fishing spots in Kentucky.
The Kendall facility features boat launching, dump station, electrical hookups, 83 improved campsites, RV sites and rest rooms.
Cumberland Point Recreation Area in nearby Wayne County opens May 10. It is a 30-acre site and has 30 spacious campsites. 
Fourteen of the campsites are waterfront, making the area prime locations for weekend recreation. Cumberland Point has a day-use area, picnic shelter and public parking.
Amenities include flush toilets, showers, drinking water and a dump station. A boat ramp and playground are located within the park.
Fall Creek Recreation Area opens April 26. It is a 10-acre site with 10 spacious campsites. All of these sites are waterfront, making prime locations for weekend recreation. Fall Creek has a day-use area, picnic shelter and public parking.
Amenities include flush toilets, showers, drinking water and a dump station. A boat ramp and playground are located within the park. 
Bee Rock Recreation Area, operated by the U.S. Forest Service, sprawls along the banks of the Rockcastle River facing a section of waterway designated as a Kentucky Wild and Scenic River. The campground straddles the Pulaski-Laurel County line.
The eastern side of the campground in Laurel County, location of the boat-launching ramp, is open year-round. The Pulaski County side opens April 1.
Bee Rock Recreation Area is steeped in history and tradition. It is named for Bee Rock, an outcropping ledge where legend says swarms of honeybees sometimes blocked out the sun. A hotel and health spa once operated near the site.
At the entrance to the campground is the Old Sublimity Bridge. Constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the late 1930s for Ky. 192 as a one-lane truss, the bridge was replaced in the 1960s by a modern, pre-stressed concrete span upstream. The bridge has since been restored into a walking bridge.
The main attraction in Pulaski County is Lake Cumberland. For six summers the lake has been held about 40 feet below normal to facilitate a complete rehabilitation of Wolf Creek Dam, declared in high risk of failure.
Those worries are over. The lake is about to rise and water lovers are ready to enjoy.