Tom Hale, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Resource Manager's office, made introductory remarks at the announcment, held on the lake's shoreline.
In Feb. 7-13 issue
LAKE CUMBERLAND - A special effort has begun to clean driftwood and trash from the shoreline of Lake Cumberland. It was announced a gathering of area officials, heads of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, and others on Thursday morning.
Speaking on the shoreline of Lake Cumberland in Wayne County, Lt. Col. Bernard R. Lindstrom, Commander of the Nashville District for the Corps, and Congressman Harold Rogers told the gathering of the commitment to work with area governments, agencies and groups to use as many resources as possible in the effort.
The plan is to take advantage of the reduced level of the lake’s waters – which have been lowered while work continues on seepage repair at Wolf Creek Dam – to clean trash and immense amounts of driftwood that have gathered, floated and re-floated over the decades, and dispose of them. Resources will include portable chipping devices, the “Pride of Lake Cumberland” barge, and if possible shoreline burning to dispose of the huge amounts of driftwood. In many periods when the lake is at normal levels, debris fields often clog the waters for long periods after rains bring about a rise in the lake and refloat the debris that keeps being redeposited on the shore.
Plans include using resources such as prisoners to gather the material. Such was demonstrated during the event Thursday when huge piles of old limbs, trunks and more were burned. They had been gathered by crews of prisoners from the Wayne County Detention Center, along with many bags of trash. Wayne County Judge-Executive Greg Rankin explained his county’s participation in the effort.
The event took place on the wide, expansive area of shoreline at Tate Launch, at the tip of Cumberland Ridge. That’s located across from Shinbone Cliff on the main lake, and just downstream from Cumberland Point Recreation Area and Conley Bottom Resort Marina. A Corps official noted that more debris of that type seems to be located on the lake from that point upstream to the Burnside area. However, he noted that the plans to clean the shoreline will extend over the full lake, and that plans are being drawn up for numbers of organized work periods.
Lt. Col. Lindstrom noted that one of the Corps goals is “to provide visitors with a diverse, safe, and quality recreational experience, while protecting and managing the resources and sustainability and ecological balance.” Noting the lake is the largest man-made body of water east of the Mississippi River, he declared that “Lake Cumberland is one of the jewels of the Corps’ water resource projects.”
Cong. Rogers, in his comments, noted that “this lake is a personal thing with all of us.” He added: “We’ve been with it before it was here, and we’ve watched it develop and grow into something that is remarkable, a tourist attraction for millions of people around the world.” Rogers explained that “when the dam repairs were required and the lake was to be down for a considerable period of time, well below what it normally is in the wintertime, it opened up a new possiblity to clean the lake while it was down.”
“A lot of these logs that wash on and off every year are too wet to burn, normally,” Rogers explained, “but now they’ve had plenty of time to dry out.” Speaking of the opportunity to burn the dead wood, Rogers remembered the time when the future lake bed was being cleared of trees before the dam was finished. “They burned them on site. During that time, the whole territory was smoky.”
Those in attendance included Rogers and the Corps officials, member of the PRIDE organization, a representative of Friends of Lake Cumberland, the Kentucky Evironmental Protection agency, the mayor of Monticello, the judge-executives of Wayne, Pulaski and Russell counties, and others.