Lake Photo

Pulaski County tourism officials predict a good Memorial Day Weekend — but one that will be different.

"We are not sure."

That's how Van Back, assistant director, Somerset-Pulaski County Convention and Visitors Bureau, assessed the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. "People with whom I have talked ... there's a lot of interest," said Back. "It will be a good weekend, but different."

Different it will be. Imagine a summer holiday when, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, most campgrounds, picnic areas and playgrounds are closed. On the plus side, boat ramps are open and usable, and Lake Cumberland, although with a debris hazard, is still a wonderful water wonderland.

Back said marinas in the area are going to encourage boaters to keep their distance ... not tie together. He urged visitors and locals tp "please be careful."

Michael Lapina, operations manager for Lake Cumberland, said the lake this weekend " ... will be full and slightly above summer pool." He said recent heavy rains have washed more wood debris in the lake and advised boaters to be careful " ... and always wear your life jacket."

The weather forecast for the first holiday weekend of summer is typically summertime. There is a 20-30 percent chance each day of thundershowers with highs in the low 80s and lows in the 60s.

Mike Lynn, manager of General Burnside Island State Park, said the state park will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m each day during the three-day holiday. The golf course may be played by walkers only during the weekend. Golf carts can't be used until June 1 and then with restrictions. Lynn expects holidayers to use the park's boat ramp which is open.

The popular campground at the Burnside state park will be closed during the Memorial Day weekend. Camping with restrictions won't be allowed until June 11, Lynn noted. The park's picnic areas and playgrounds also are closed.

Bill Peoples, chief of public affairs, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Nashville District, said in a news release Nashville District’s Corps-managed campgrounds in Kentucky will reopen June 11 in alignment with Kentucky’s recently announced “Phase 2” reopening plan. This includes Waitsboro Recreation Area near Burnside and Fishing Creek Recreation Area near Nancy.

Campground reservations were previously expected to be cancelled through May 31. Individuals with reservations impacted by this closure will have an opportunity to modify their reservation in order to avoid cancellation of dates beyond June 10. Deadline to complete any modifications to reservations is May 25. After that date all reservations will be cancelled and full refunds will be issued.

While these campgrounds and most day-use areas will be accessible to visitors in June, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. For example, group picnic shelters and developed swimming areas will remain closed at this time.

Visitors' centers and resource managers' offices will reopen for limited public access. Issuance of special event permits, special activity permits or letters of permission for small gatherings, as well as small USACE sponsored events to include interpretive programs, public meetings and other public gatherings can resume in accordance with federal, state or local guidelines.

At the time of this news release, boat ramps as well as parks already open or not able to be closed remain open. Restrooms in open areas were opened as needed May 1. Day-use areas will not charge a fee until at least Oct. 1, 2020, Peoples said.

Dan Price, deputy Pulaski County judge-executive, said Pulaski County Park will be open Memorial Day weekend. (Complete) information about the park is on the park website and Facebook pages, he noted.

(Bathrooms at the county park) will be open to the public but may be closed longer at times during (daytime) for enhanced cleaning due to (COVID-19) pandemic. Playgrounds are off limits as well as shelters to minimize crowds larger than 10. (The) park store is open for curbside service, Price said.

"We are asking the public to follow CDC guidelines of social distancing while experiencing outside activity," Price remarked.

"In addition, at this time, we are only renting RV sites to instate people and first responders," Price revealed. "While the public experiences our parks at Shopville, White Lily, Firebrook and Woodstock for any outside activity we are encouraging everyone to get outdoors and enjoy our wonderful county but be respectful of others." Price concluded.

Bee Rock Campground, operated by the U.S. Forest Service, because of flood damage during early 2019, is closed and will remain closed throughout the summer.

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