Launching a $2 million vessel at General Burnside Island State Park late Tuesday was a harbinger of things to come; a most appropriate event heralding the anticipated end to what seemingly has been an eternity waiting for Lake Cumberland’s return to normal operation.
An excited crowd with cameras watched as the majestic yacht took to the water like a duck. A 59-foot yacht is big, reportedly the second largest V-bottom boat on the third largest lake east of the Mississippi River.
The owner of the yacht declined to be interviewed or identified, but he obviously has faith in Lake Cum-berland’s future. He has gone to a lot of trouble and expense to put his classy vessel where he wants it to be.
Shouldering its opulence in the placid waters off the ramp, the big boat was an optimistic exclamation ahead of next week’s final safety review of the $594 million rehabilitation of Wolf Creek Dam.
If the troubled dam passes scrutiny, Brigadier General Margaret W. Burcham, commander of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division of the Corps, is expected to give the green light for Lake Cumberland to once again wrap its watery arms around the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains.
Wolf Creek Dam, sitting atop a porous limestone base, has been plagued with uncontrolled seepage since the gates were first closed.
After being classified in high risk of failure in 2005, the 62-year-old structure has undergone a massive rehab-ilitation believed to be a permanent fix.
To facilitate the work, the level of Lake Cumberland was kept 40 feet below normal for six summers and about 20 feet below normal this past summer. Tuesday’s launching of the expensive yacht is a statement that the future is now for the lake, heartbeat of the economy in the 10-county Lake Cumberland region.