Commonwealth Journal

News Live

May 22, 2014

Holiday weekend should be splendid on Lake Cumberland

— It couldn’t be better for the first holiday of summer. The weather will be perfect – sunny with highs in the upper 70s to low 80s. Lake Cumberland is lapping at the tree line. The expansive water is far as eye can view; a virtual sea framed by majestic foothills of the Cumberland Mountains. For the first time in seven summers, the lake is as it ought to be. Forget duskytail darters, the miserable little minnows that for a moment threatened a normal water level this summer. Once inaccessible coves are now hidden hideaways. There’s water, water everywhere along 1,250 miles of forested shoreline. It’s the perfect getaway for a joyous holiday. Absent are public relations promotions to combat perceptions worse than reality. No more trying to paint a pretty picture. What you see is what you get, and you’ll like it. Wolf Creek Dam has been permanently repaired. Lake Cumberland is for real. Find a pristine spot and put your body in “relax.” The 78-hour funfest begins at 6 p.m. today (Friday). It ends at midnight Monday. Memorial Day weekend will be a jewel to kick off Summer 2014 in a vacation paradise. Somerset’s metropolitan-like business district is open for those who love to shop. Many stores are offering Memorial Day bargains. “There is a lot of excitement about the lake being full,” said Van Back, assistant to Carolyn Mounce, executive director, Somerset-Pulaski Convention and Visitors Bureau. “And the weather is going to be good,” he added. A spot check of local motels indicates all rooms are booked Saturday night, Back said. The survey, taken Thursday afternoon, found a few lodging places still available on Friday night. At local marinas, most houseboats, pontoons and ski boats were reserved, Back noted. “The lake is in good shape,” said Tom Hale, operations manager for the reservoir. “We have been working since March to clear away debris. The water is no longer murky from earlier rains and “ ... it’s a nice color,” he said. Hale advised boaters to use caution. “ ... There could be floating debris,” he noted, However, he said a special effort is being made to remove debris from the main channels. The water Thursday morning was 722.65 feet about sea level, about 3 or 4 inches under pool stage. “The lake is just where we want it,” Hale remarked. “Most of our camping sites are reserved,” said Hale. However, as of early Thursday there were still a few sites open. He advised visitors to call the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ reservation number – 1-877-444-6777 – to find what camping sites are available. General Burnside Island State Park is bracing for a big crowd. “It’s going to be a great weekend weatherwise,” said Judy Smith, an employee in the golf pro shop at the state park. “We’re getting a lot of tee times ... the golf course will be busy, and the camping area is full,” said Smith. Pulaski County Park, located on the Fishing Creek arm of Lake Cumberland, was an island without water for six summers while Wolf Creek Dam was being repaired. The situation was somewhat better last summer when the lake was allowed to rise 20 feet. But now, with a full lake, Pulaski County Park scenic landscape is surrounded by water. Bill Mardis is the editor emeritus of the Commonwealth Journal. He can be reached at:

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