Water enthusiasts and lovers of summertime are often saddened after Labor Day weekend to see boats, trailers and campers practically tailgating north toward home and winter storage, waiting for another summer.
Frank Sinatra crooned "Days Grow Short When You Reach September," but chamber of commerce types are quick to spread the word that autumn is one of the most beautiful times on Lake Cumberland. Golf courses, campgrounds and other facilities are still open and have welcome signs out for tourists.
Main attraction is Lake Cumberland, largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi River. The lake is 101 miles long, stretching from south of Jamestown through Pulaski County to near Corbin. It has 1,250 miles of shoreline with plenty of forested coves for houseboats. The water averages 90 feet deep, and one can boat all day, or all week, and never reach an end to the lake, in some places a mile wide.
Sprawling across the recreational-inviting Pulaski County and Appalachia is Daniel Boone Natural Forest. It embraces some of the most rugged terrain west of the Appalachian Mountains. Steep forested slopes, sandstone cliffs and narrow ravines characterize the land. Visitors come to the forest to hike, camp, picnic, rockclimb, boat, hunt, fish, ride, target shoot and relax. The national forest contains three large lakes -- Cave Run Lake, Laurel River Lake and Lake Cumberland -- and many rivers and streams.
As leaves turn a splendor of color during autumn there are numerous places to camp and enjoy the lake near Somerset and Burnside.
Waitsboro Campground, located off the west side of U.S. 27 north of Burnside, will be open until October 27. The campground offers 17 RV sites, all with electric hookups, and five tent-only sites. Eight of Waitsboro's sites are on the waterfront, making them prime locations for weekend recreation. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, drinking water, laundry facilities and a dump station. A day-use area with a group picnic shelter and a parking area is also available.
Fishing Creek Campground, located at the end of Ky. 1248 across the lake from Pulaski County Park, will be open until September 30. The facility has 26 RV sites and 20 tent-only sites, all with electric hookups. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, drinking water, laundry facilities and a dump station. Fishing Creek also has a day-use area, picnic sites and a playground, making it an ideal spot for large parties and family functions.
Cumberland Point Campground, 344 Daws Ridge Rd, Nancy, will be open through September 22. The campground is on a 30-acre site and has 30 shaded campsites. Fourteen of these sites are waterfront. Cumberland Point has a day-use area, picnic shelter and public parking. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, drinking water and a dump station. A boat ramp and playground are located within the park.
Fall Creek, 144 New Fall Creek Rd, Monticello, will be open until October 30. The campground is on a 10-acre site and has 10 shaded campsites, all on the waterfront. Fall Creek has a day-use area, picnic shelter and public parking. Amenities include flush toilets, showers, drinking water and a dump station. A boat ramp and playground are located within the park.
Kendall Campground, located just below Wolf Creek Dam, is open until November 1. The campground is a multi-use recreation area, consisting of 70 acres and 115 reservable campsites, all with water and electric hookups. Each campsite has a picnic table, fire ring and lantern post. A group day-use picnic shelter with water and electric hookups is available as well. A boat ramp, fish cleaning station, basketball court, horseshoe pit, hiking trail and playground are located within the park.
Judy Daulton, park ranger for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said all boat ramps at Corps-operated campground sites will remain open during the winter except at Lakeview (off U.S. 27 behind Guthrie's). The Lakeview ramp is blocked because it is out of the water when the lake is below 700 feet above sea level. The lake Tuesday morning was at 699.86 feet above sea level, meaning water is below the end of the ramp.
All other Corps-operated ramps were extended to 680 level during the period when the lake was lowered to facilitate repairs at Wolf Creek Dam. "The lake won't go down to 680 (this winter)," Daulton assured.
Camping at General Burnside Island State Park has been extended this season through the first week in November. The Brian Ault-designed golf course on the island is open year-round, weather permitting.
Nobody was available to discuss the situation at Pulaski County Park. However, during the current administration in county government, the camping area closes when the weather gets bad but the park remains open. Several events are scheduled at the park up until November.
SomerSplash Waterpark closed for the season after Labor Day. Bee Rock Campground, straddling the Pulaski-Laurel county line near Mt. Victory, has been closed all summer because of lake backwater damage from last February's heavy rains.