Spring is here and the look-forward-to summer recreational season is just weeks away, but the COVID-19 scare will delay summer fun.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, in a news release at noon Thursday said in the interest of public safety, and in accordance with Center for Disease Control recommendations, the Corps is taking the following precautionary measures to assist public health efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19:
• Effective immediately all visitor centers and resource manager offices are closed to the public until further notice. This includes Lake Cumberland Visitor Center located at the Resource Manager's Office on Boat Dock Road southeast of Somerset.
• Parks, campgrounds, day-use areas or other recreational areas that have not opened for the 2020 recreation season will delay opening until further notice. This includes Waitsboro Recreation Area near Burnside, scheduled to open April 9, and Fishing Creek Recreation Area, located across the lake from Pulaski County Park, scheduled to open May 21.
• In cases where closure of a day-use recreation area is not possible, public restrooms, group shelters, beaches and other amenities will be closed in order to promote
Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended precautions. Day-use fees will not be collected at these areas during this time, Cancellations for campground or group shelter reservations through May 15 will be processed and a full refund will be issued. America the Beautiful passes may be purchased online by visiting https://store.usgs.gov/pass.
• Boat ramps will remain open.
• All schedule tours, interpretive programs and special events will be canceled until further notice.
• Campers with reservations at Defeated Creek Campground on Cordell Hull Lake who have already arrived or who arrive up to March 19 will be allowed to remain until March 23. All future reservations will be canceled.
• Shoreline management visits, usually relating to dock permits, will be conducted by phone, e-mail or mail between dock owners and Corps personnel in order to protect both parties.
Although public access will not be allowed, resource manager offices will be staffed and available to conduct business and answer questions via e-mail or telephone. Telephone numbers for each lake office are: Lake Cumberland (606) 679-6337, Lake Barkley (270) 362-4236, Center Hill Lake (931) 858-312, Cheatham Lake (615) 792-5697, Cordell Hull Lake (615) 735-1034, Dale Hollow Lake (931) 243-3136, J. Percy Priest Lake (615) 889-1975, Laurel River Lake (606) 679-6337, Martins Fork Lake (606) 573-1468 and Old Hickory Lake (615) 822-4846.
These additional measures will be effective at each of the Nashville District’s USACE managed facilities throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. Certain facilities are operated on USACE property by other entities under lease agreements, such as marinas and municipal parks. It is recommended the public contact those entities directly in regards to their current operating status.
“We are taking the CDC’s recommended precautions as we work to provide a safe environment for our visitors,” said Diane Parks, Nashville District’s chief of Operations. “Public safety and the safety of our employees will always be our top priority, and every effort will be made to assist in efforts to contain COVID-19.”
Nashville District leadership continues to monitor and assess the situation and will keep the public informed of any additional updates.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)
The U.S. Forest Service announced last week that Bee Rock Campground near Mt. Victory will not be open this summer. This is not related to COVID-19 but an inability to get funds to make repairs from damage done by last spring's floods.