The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement late last week that Lake Cumberland will be 20 feet higher this coming vacation season has already generated construction activity in the Burnside area.
“We’ll add five 40-foot sections of dock,” said Holly Polston, general manager of sprawling Burnside Marina. She said pipe for the 200-foot extension arrived Tuesday.
“We’re really excited,” Polston added. So is Burnside Mayor Ron Jones.
“This is really going to be good for us. There’s no doubt about that,” said Jones. “It seems to me tourist activity has slowed each year since the lake has been down, and its going to take a while to get it back. People have gone to other lakes and they’ve settled in,” the mayor added.
Jones blames much of the slowdown in tourist activity to the economy. What has been dubbed “The Great Recession” began in 2006, about a year before the drawdown of the lake. The economy only recently has begun to improve.
“If the economy improves, people will have some money to take a vacation,” said Jones, mayor of the “Only Town on Lake Cumberland.”
Polston agrees. She said the slowdown in visitation to Lake Cumberland was more due to the economy and high gasoline prices. “The first year the lake was down had some effect, but people got use to it.”
Carolyn Mounce, executive director of Somerset-Pulaski Convention & Visitors Bureau, said she heard a couple of comments at the Cincinnati Travel, Sports and Boat Show last weekend, something to the effect: “We really like the lake as it is now.”
Even at its low level, Lake Cumberland is the third largest lake east of the Mississippi River with 35,000 acres of water averaging 50 feet deep.
Because of caveats the Corps usually adds to its announcements, a reporter wondered if Burnside Marina might be “jumping the gun” in quickly extending the docks.