More boaters, anglers and vacationers are expected to head to Lake Cumberland this summer as the pristine southeastern Kentucky lake’s water level rises about 20 feet following repairs to the dam.
Lodging operators are anticipating a strong summer season, said Carolyn Mounce, executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski County Convention and Visitors Bureau. “I bet my hat that we’ll be over 4 million visitors this year,” she said.
That figure would approach the record number of visitors reported in 2006, before Lake Cumberland was lowered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers during repairs.
An abundance of lakes and streams across the Commonwealth makes Kentucky a summer vacation playground. The Bluegrass State boasts more miles of navigable water than any state other than Alaska.
Visitors who venture to Lake Cumberland for houseboating, skiing, fishing and relaxing can expect lots of fun this summer. The lake’s half-dozen marinas that rent houseboats, ski boats, water scooters and other water recreation equipment are ready to meet the anticipated increase in demand.
Houseboating is one of Lake Cumberland’s biggest claims to fame, with the lake’s many tranquil coves and inlets providing great places to anchor and enjoy the lazy days of summer. The operator of Lake Cumberland’s largest marina said bookings for the luxurious rental craft are up.
“We have 60 houseboats for rent,” said Bill Jasper, president of State Dock in Jamestown. “The lake’s coming back. We should have a great year.”
Meanwhile, fish should also be biting at the lake known as among the best for anglers in the eastern U.S. The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources is adding 1 million walleye and striped bass to Lake Cumberland’s stock this year to give fishing a boost. Rising water atop the lake’s overgrown banks is expected to spur fish population growth. Spawns of crappie and trout should also be strong.
Mounce said boat and vacation shows she’s been attending are abuzz with talk about the resurgent Lake Cumberland. She advises travelers to make motel and other reservations at the lake as early as possible.
Lake Cumberland, Kentucky’s deepest and third largest lake in surface area, was lowered 40 feet by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2007 to ease pressure on Wolf Creek Dam and allow repairs. This summer’s level will reach approximately 700 feet above sea level. The normal level of about 720 feet will be achieved by spring 2014, creating a surface area of more than 50,000 acres, according to the Corps.
For more information about Lake Cumberland vacation opportunities, visit www.lakecumberlandtourism.com.