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Lake Cumberland Region Hoping for Big Tourist Season Following Recent Water Level News

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Now that Lake Cumberland’s water level is back to its full summer point for the first time in eight years, the head of the state dock there says the region is in for a great tourist season.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced this week that the recent rain in southern Kentucky has pushed Lake Cumberland’s water level to 723 feet above sea level. The water level at the lake was dropped in 2007 while repair work was done on Wolf Creek Dam.

Lake Cumberland State Dock president Bill Jasper told WKU Public Radio it’s been a challenge fighting off negative public perceptions about the lake over the past eight years. He says this week’s news helps erase those problems.

“We’ve still got one of the biggest waterways east of the Mississippi in terms of volume of water, and people thought we were dry. So, we still get that question at boat shows. So this takes away all that uncertainty.”

Jasper says he’s looking forward to getting the word out that Lake Cumberland’s water level is back to where it was before it was lowered in 2007.

He adds that summer reservations are higher so far this year compared to the same time in 2013.

While relatively high gas prices could remain a factor for those planning their summer vacations, Jasper says they haven’t had a big impact on Lake Cumberland in recent years.

He says people still bring their boats to the lake. They just don’t use them as much.

“What you do see is that they’ll sit a lot more. They’ll go hang out in a cove and swim, instead of just running up and down the lake burning gas. We’re seeing now a great start and a lot of enthusiasm about the year.”

Jasper says while much of Lake Cumberland’s tourism business comes from Kentuckians, the lake also gets high numbers of visitors who drive in from Michigan, Ohio, and Illinois.

Kevin is the News Director at WKU Public Radio. He has been with the station since 1999, and was previously the Assistant News Director, and also served as local host of Morning Edition.
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