Lake Photo

Lake Cumberland is clear as a mirror and surface water is about 6 inches above the tree line, a welcoming gesture to the Ohio Navy to enjoy the Independence holiday in and near Queen City of the Cumberlands.

Timing of Thursday July 4 extends the midsummer holiday, maybe into Monday, depending on individual work situations. It is an excuse, even a reason, for taking a five-day break. Somerset is the only place where the lake is bordered by big-city-like shopping areas for those not all that into water sports.

The weather this weekend is typically summertime. Highs will be in the upper 80s but there is a chance of thundershowers. It won’t be a washout; thundershowers will occur mostly late in the day so there should be plenty of time to spend on the lake. Some areas, meteorologists say, will stay dry.

The lake is unbelievably beautiful and shorelines are mostly recovered from damages caused by record high levels of the lake in February. Troy Hawks, facility manager for Lake Cumberland, said campsites at Fishing Creek, Fall Creek and Cumberland Point are currently in operation. Mill Springs mill and park, Lakeview ramp, 76 Falls, Halcomb’s Landing and all overlooks will be open during the holiday weekend. All boat ramps and courtesy docks are open and operable and all camping sites at Waitsboro are open except Site 7.

Bee Rock Campground, operated by the U.S. Forest Service near Mt. Victory, at last report will be closed all summer. The campground, straddling Rockcastle River at the Pulaski-Laurel county line, was heavily damaged by backwaters from Lake Cumberland during February’s record rainfall.

A few campsites at Kendall Recreation Area below Wolf Creek Dam remain closed as a result of damaging high water levels. The closed sites will remain unusable for 18 to 36 months depending on availability of federal funds, Hawks said.

Pulaski County Park is always crowded during a summer holiday but status of the popular beach is unclear. Pulaski County Judge-Executive Steve Kelley said heavy rains earlier this week inundated the beach “ ... but the water has probably gone down by now.” He said the beach area will be partially blocked Saturday for “Thunder Over the Park” fireworks show.

“We have permission from the Corps to move that beach ... and we are going to move it,” said Kelley. “Right now, at its present location, we’re not allowed to call it a beach.” However, Kelley indicated the existing beach area is there and swimmers and sunbathers may use it.

Michelle Allen, executive director, Somerset-Pulaski Convention & Visitors Bureau, said a spot-check of local marinas indicates most boats are rented “ ... and it looks as if we will have a large crowd for the holiday weekend.” She noted the many fireworks displays and other Independence Day activities throughout the weekend to celebrate the event.

A spokesperson at General Burnside Island State Park said he was “ ... busy this (Wednesday) morning with people wanting tee times at the park’s Brian Ault-designed golf course. He said when the weather is iffy golfers tend to wait to reserve tee times “ ... but it looks like we’re going to be busy.” As for the campground, he said “ ... the last I heard they were busy.”

“Depending on the weather ... if the weather is good we’ll have a big crowd,” reported a spokesperson at SomerSplash Waterpark, the city-operated waterpark on old Highway 27 (Ky. 2227) north of Somerset.

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