U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Reopening Kentucky Campgrounds

May 15, 2020

Credit Lee Roberts / USACE

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announced it’s reopening corps-managed campgrounds within the Cumberland River Basin on June 1 and Kentucky campgrounds on June 11. 

A press release issued by the USACE states those with reservations impacted by the closure will have the opportunity to change  their reservation date and avoid cancellation of dates beyond June 10. The deadline for completing any reservation modifications is May 25. All reservations not changed by that time will be canceled and full refunds will be issued. 

While the campgrounds and most day-use parks will be accessible to visitors in June, the USACE said a return to full operations will continue in phases and during that time services may be limited. Group picnic shelters and developed swimming areas will remain closed; visitor centers and resource managers’ offices will reopen with limited public access. 

As of May 14, the USACE said, boat ramps as well as parks that were 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.

The USACE said 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 for social gatherings.

State-operated or concessionaire-operated campgrounds at Corps Lakes have their own policies in place. The USACE Nashville District recommends contacting respective state agencies for their operating status.

The announcement applies to all Corps-managed campgrounds and recreation areas at Lake Barkley, Lake Cumberland, Laurel River Lake and Martins Fork Lake in Kentucky, and Cheatham Lake, J. Percy Priest Lake, Old Hickory Lake, Cordell Hull Lake, Center Hill Lake and Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee.

The Corps of Engineers also reminds all visitors to follow these steps to recreate responsibly: honor the six-foot social distance rule, stay away from parks and recreation areas if you are sick or have symptoms, keep parks clean by practicing “pack in and pack out” etiquette, and always wear a life jacket when near the water.

“Protecting the health and safety of the recreating public, volunteers, contractors and our personnel remains our highest priority,” said Lt. Col. Sonny B. Avichal, Nashville District commander, in a statement. “We will continue to assess the situation and will conduct a phased reopening of additional areas/events as state and local guidelines allow social gathering sizes commensurate with the capacity of the amenity or proposed event. We will share those updates with the public as they become available.”

More information and updates about reopening may be found on the USACE Nashville District Facebook and Twitter pages.