Lake Cumberland Press Release For Memorial Day From Kentucky



(Frankfort, KY) - Governor Ernie Fletcher has directed state agencies to work together to ensure visitors traveling to Lake Cumberland this weekend have no problem finding open boat launching ramps and getting to the water safely.

"The Memorial Day weekend is critical to starting a successful summer vacation season" said Governor Fletcher. "We've spent months extending boat ramps, increasing advertising and working with local communities to prepare for the summer season so visitors will not be inconvenienced. We want the traveler to enjoy the lake and know that there is still plenty of water for all activities. "

State and local agencies have taken the following steps:

  • Finalized the extension of 20 boat ramps which are now open and available
  • Announced $860,000 will be spent to extend 29 additional boat ramps in the coming weeks, which will increase the number available to nearly 50 ramps
  • Reopened boat ramps at General Burnside Island State Park, with five lanes, and Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, which features three lanes
  • Partnered with the Kentucky Broadcasters Association to send public service announcements promoting the lake to more than 300 radio and television stations
  • Created a map with directions to all open ramps (that will be updated weekly). The map is available at (by clicking on the "Lake Cumberland icon). In addition, the Kentucky Department of Tourism has asked local tourism organizations to distribute copies of the map to every Welcome Center in the state, local tourism offices, as well as numerous local hotels, restaurants, gas stations, etc. in the region.
  • Worked with The Southern and Eastern Kentucky Tourism Development Association (SEKTDA) to have phone operators available to answer lake and ramp questions. They can be reached at 877-868-7735 or 511 in Kentucky.
  • Strategically set up six variable traveler information message boards on major highway routes into the lake area to assist tourists in accessing information.
  • Spent an additional $110,000 on advertising the lake area in key out of state areas.
  • Created additional parking and set up a shuttle service at General Burnside Island State Park to assist boaters who may have to park farther away due to increased usage
  • Conducted a "media day" to give journalists a tour of the lake, highlighting improvements and showcasing the nearly 38,000 acres of water.
  • Hired Hilda Legg as the Executive Director of Interagency Services for the Lake Cumberland Region. She serves as Governor Fletcher's liaison to the area and coordinates the Commonwealth's response to the situation.

The Commonwealth took the steps above after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to lower the lake to make needed repairs to Wolf Creek Dam, the structure that creates the lake. That project is projected to take five to seven years to complete.

State agencies assisting in the projects above include:

  • The Kentucky Department of Tourism
  • The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • The Kentucky Department of Parks
  • The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet
  • The Governor's Office for Local Development


  • Lake Cumberland is the largest reservoir east of the Mississippi River.
  • At its reduced level, Lake Cumberland has approximately 38,000 surface acres.
  • 4.7 million visitors spend more than 73.3 million hours a year at the lake.
  • More people visit Lake Cumberland every year than visit Yellowstone National Park.
  • The lake contributes $153.4 million a year to the local tourism economy.
  • The primary purpose of Wolf Creek Dam is flood control.
  • The lake also provides hydroelectric power, recreation, navigation, water supply and water quality benefits.
  • Wolf Creek Dam is 5,736 feet long; combination earth and concrete.
  • The dam was designed and constructed during 1938 - 1952.
  • The dam was repaired between 1968 and 1970. Work continued between 1975 and 1979.
  • The current project calls for a new wall inside the earthen embankment and continuing 1650 feet beyond the existing wall.
  • The new wall will go 75 feet deeper than the majority of the original wall.
  • Temporary measures call for grout, in essence liquid concrete, to be pumped into the earthen section of the dam to stop water from seeping through.
  • The project is expected to last between five and seven years.
  • The cost of the project is $309 million.

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