Local Students’ Project Helps Osprey Conservation

Submitted by John Pollpeter, Lead Naturalist at Woodlands Nature Station

During the 2016-2017 school year, Trigg County Middle School participated in a teaching method called “Project-based Learning.”  Students are given a project or problem, and then incorporate writing, math, science, art, and computer skills attempt to develop a solution.

Ms. Brannigan Ethridge’s 8th grade class was given a list of species that need conservation help. Two students, Zach Meador and Hannah Fletcher, were able to take the project even further than they could imagine.

The two students, working with the US Forest Service, developed a plan to put up an osprey tower to encourage the migratory birds of prey to nest in the Woodlands Nature Watch Area of Land Between the Lakes. The location provides safety for the nest, as well as opportunities for visitors to observe the nesting process.

Ospreys were reintroduced to the area in the 1980’s in the Woodlands Nature Watch Area. They were a species impacted by the chemical pesticide DDT. The Lakes Region has more osprey than any other part of Kentucky or Tennessee.

The two students obtained a tower design from Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Resources, set up a successful campaign to raise funds through a Go Fund Me page, and received a generous donation of materials and labor from Kentucky Machine & Engineering. Johnny Guinn, a welder with the company, put the platform together.

On May 13, 2017, Zach and Hannah completed the project and presented the osprey platform to the US Forest Service and a $275.00 check to Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky, a non-profit group in Louisville, KY who care for injured osprey. The donation will go towards the care and rehabilitation of any hurt or injured osprey from our area so they may return to the wild.

With a little bit of time, dedication, and community coordination, a lot can be accomplished. The osprey tower will be put in place before the 2018 breeding season in the Woodlands Nature Watch area.

Independence Day at The Homeplace

Independence Day at the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm

Independence Day at the Homeplace 1850s FarmLAND BETWEEN THE LAKES, KY/TN – June 15, 2017 – The public is invited to a traditional community celebration of America’s birthday at the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm, from 1-4pm, Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Admission is $5 ages 13 and up; $3 ages 5 -12; free for ages 4 and under.

“Raising the 30 star flag from 1850 and reading the Declaration of Independence together are a moving way to remember why we still celebrate today,” says Homeplace Interpreter Kira Sanscrainte. “We are also planning a special finish, called “Sounds of the Fourth,” with patriotic toasts (lemonade provided), songs, bells and more. Help us bring the afternoon to a rousing close.” Weather permitting, there will also be a launch of a small hot air or “smoke” balloon.

Visitors can take part in competitive games and making ice cream. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic lunches while listening to traditional old-time music.

The Homeplace 1850s Working Farm recreates the lifestyle of a two-generation family of the region. Visitors mingle with interpreters wearing period attire going about their daily chores. Artifacts, restored historic structures and traditional seasonal activities take visitors back-in-time to relive history before the American Civil War.

Forest Service Safety

Summer Safety Tips from Land Between the Lakes

LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES, KY/TN – June 15, 2017 – U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officers provide their annual list of summer safe habits for outdoor recreation.

“We want everyone to have fun while they’re here,” explains Forest Service Law Enforcement Patrol Captain Duane Cameron. “Practicing safe habits makes all the difference.” Cameron asks visitors to keep safety in mind while enjoying Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area and neighboring communities.

Forest Service, State and local Law Enforcement Officers patrol Land Between the Lakes. In case of emergency, dial 911 or 877.861.2457 for 24-hour dispatch. Please immediately report any criminal or suspicious activity.

Boating Safety

  • Avoid alcohol prior to operating a watercraft.
  • Be courteous at all times, especially near boat ramps.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. The U.S. Coast Guard says driver inattention is the number one cause of boating accidents and deaths.
  • Ventilate inboard motors before starting the engine.
  • Engage the tow vehicle’s emergency brake when pulling a boat out of or lowering a boat into the water.
  • Be responsible for the safety of all riders; ensure availability of life jackets for all, and keep within legal weight limits.

Driving Safety

  • Avoid drinking and driving.
  • Refrain from texting and operating a motor vehicle.
  • Be courteous. Share the road with bicycle and motorcycle riders.
  • Watch out for wildlife, especially deer foraging along the highways.
  • Watch for hikers, horse riders and mountain bikers crossing roadways.
  • Stay on designated roads as identified in the Land Between the Lakes Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). landbetweenthelakes.us/visit/maps/.
  • Use a map for numbered backcountry roads.
  • Be aware of surroundings. Heavy rains may wash out sections of creek crossings or roadways.
  • Only off-road on designated trails within Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area.

Trail Safety

  • Carry sufficient water to keep hydrated. Do not rely on springs.
  • Plan ahead and inform a responsible person of your route.
  • Bring a map and a compass, or a global positioning system (GPS) unit. Cell phone coverage lapses often on the National Recreation Area. The Forest Service provides maps for free at landbetweenthelakes.us/visit/maps/.
  • Use tick, chigger and mosquito repellant.

Camping Safety

  • Look to see if any tree limbs could fall in strong winds prior to setting a campsite.
  • Be aware of elevated fire danger associated with hot, dry weather.
  • Be courteous to other campers. Honor quiet hours from 11pm to 6am.
  • Be cautious around campfires. Remove any debris near the fire ring. Ensure campfire ashes have cooled before leaving them unattended. Keep a bucket of water and a shovel nearby. Remember, only you can prevent wildfires. https://smokeybear.com/en/prevention-how-tos/campfire-safety.

Use of fireworks on the National Recreation Area is prohibited. Neighboring state parks and private resorts provide fireworks displays, some visible from Land Between the Lakes.

For more safety tips visit www.fs.fed.us/safety/. The U.S. Coast Guard’s Boating Safety Division provides information at www.uscgboating.org/recreational-boaters/index.php?m=rb. For a tick safety fact sheet visit https://www.landbetweenthelakes.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/TickFactSheet_WEB.pdf. For general campground and trail maps, see https://www.landbetweenthelakes.us/visit/maps/.

Free Firewood for Land Between the Lakes Campers

What Happened?

Severe storms in May 2016 brought down many trees across Land Between the Lakes, especially in the area around Birmingham Ferry Campground on the northern end.

Instead of conducting a salvage timber sale, we cut trees that were a hazard to the public and left the rest.

How does it affect me?

Free campfire wood! Anyone who is camping in Land Between the Lakes can cut and use any of this downed wood for campfires.

The wood piles in the area of Birmingham Ferry Campground are easily accessible near the upper parking lot on the back side of the campground, near the boat ramp.

As always, use caution when cutting or removing any dead and down trees for firewood. Hazards such as poison ivy and snakes always exist when dealing with brush piles.

What rules do I need to follow?


  • Collect firewood Monday-Sunday, daylight to dark for safety reasons.
  • Take only enough wood to use during your stay on the recreation area.
  • Comply with all rules and regulations.
  • Respect the rights and privileges of others, including those picking up firewood under similar free-use activities.
  • Please remove all trash and litter.
  • You are responsible for your own safety, any damage to your vehicle/personal property or to Land Between the Lakes property resulting from your participation in free firewood cutting or removal.


  • Remove firewood from Land Between the Lakes without a signed firewood permit.
  • Block traffic or parking or create an unsafe or hazardous situation.
  • Cut standing dead trees.
  • Use a chainsaw without a spark arrestor.
  • Use heavy equipment such as tractors or bulldozers to aid in collecting wood.
  • Vehicles must remain on identified Forest Service roads. See Motor Vehicle Use Map https://landbetweenthelakes.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/LBL-MVUM-2017.pdf.

Can I cut it and take it out of Land Between the Lakes?

You may only remove wood from Land Between the Lakes with a signed Firewood Permit. For more information, visit https://landbetweenthelakes.us/visit/special-permits/ or call 270.924.2065.

You may use any dead and downed wood across the recreation area for campfires while camping within Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area.

Thank you!

We want the public to enjoy their stay at Land Between the Lakes. When you use storm damaged wood for campfires, you help make the recreation area safer by reducing the fuel load and reducing the risk of wildfires.

And, who doesn’t love a good campfire? Just bring marshmallows!

Happy camping!

John Westbrook | Environmental Stewardship Manager

New map sign on US68/KY80

Events Make the Summer Special at Land Between the Lakes

LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES, KY/TN – May 24, 2017 – The 2017 summer lineup of Special Events at Land Between the Lakes includes:






  • Homeschoolers Month | Homeplace 1850s Farm
  • Homeplace Trades Fair | Homeplace 1850s Farm | 2-3
  • Raptor-rific Labor Day Weekend | Nature Station | 2-4
  • Fall Quilting Weekend: Quilts, Coverlets and Comforters | Homeplace 1850s Farm | 16-17
  • Homeschoolers Day | Homeplace 1850s Farm | 22

Planetarium and Observatory Evening Show Schedule

Laser Music Schedule

  • Laser Lights Music Shows | All seats $7
    • 5:30pm and 7pm on Saturday nights beginning Saturday, May 13
    • 5:30pm and 7pm on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights beginning Friday, June 2
    • 8pm bonus laser shows June 3, 10, 17 and 24; July 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29; and August 5, 12, 19 and 26
    • Star Parties are FREE for all

 Nature Station

  • Kayak and Canoe Rentals begin | $10 per canoe/hour
  • Staff-led Canoe/Kayak Trips:
    • Reservation and full deposit required; call 270-924-2020
    • May 28 and 29 | June 11 and 20 | July 2, 3, and 30, August 17 and 27

Hungry like the wolf? No, just howling like one. Photo by Anita Spalding

National Get Outdoors Day

LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES, KY/TN  May 19, 2017 – Woodlands Nature Station will waive admission fees Saturday, June 10, 2017, at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, in honor of National Get Outdoors Day. The Nature Station is open 10am-5pm.

Come experience native gardens and rescued wildlife in the Nature Station’s backyard. Visitors may observe a bald eagle during a “Bald Is Beautiful” program from 11:30am-12pm.

Discover the “Jedi” skills of Mother Nature’s finest students during May the Forest Be With You programs from 2:30-3:15pm. Watch the Parade of Raptors at 4:30pm, as staff escort the owls and hawk to their night time enclosures. Additional animal programs take place throughout the day.

Fourth graders may take advantage of free admission to the Nature Station and Homeplace 1850s Farm every day. For more details visit https://landbetweenthelakes.us/every-kid-in-a-park-4th-grade-pass/.

Volunteers helping at Land Between The Lakes

National Trails Day at Land Between the Lakes

LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES, KY/TN – May 19, 2017 – On Saturday, June 3, 2017, Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area invites the public to help with general trail maintenance of the Canal Loop Trail. In celebration of the 25th Annual National Trails Day , the volunteer effort will enhance the hiking experience for visitors.

“Trails provide a great way to enjoy America’s Great Outdoors,” commented Kyle Varel, Trails Manager at Land Between the Lakes. “We offer hundreds of miles of scenic trails for hikers, bikers and riders.” National Trails Day volunteers will support safe and accessible trails through tread work and re-blazing the loop and connector trails.

Volunteers will meet at the North Welcome parking lot at 8:30am and work until about 12pm. Participants should bring lunch, water and a day pack, and wear appropriate clothing, including work boots.

The Forest Service will provide tools, materials, gloves, hard hats and safety glasses. For more information about volunteering or National Trails Day, contact Nickolaus Willis at 270-924-2007, or email volunteer@friendsoflbl.org. This event is weather dependent.

Woodlands Nature Station staff offers free guided Morning Nature Hikes every Tuesday morning in June from 11am–12pm. These hikes feature trails within the Woodlands Nature Watch Area.

Late Shows and Star Parties

Summer Night Star Parties at Land Between the Lakes

LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES, KY/TN – May 19, 2017 – The Golden Pond Planetarium at Land Between the Lakes will host a full array of stellar evening shows for the 2017 summer season. Laser and evening planetarium showings and Star Parties offer indoor and outdoor activities after 5pm starting in May and lasting all summer.

Evening Planetarium Shows and Star Parties:  The Planetarium offers evening Astronomy shows and the members of the West Kentucky Amateur Astronomers host Star Parties, weather permitting. Seasoned astronomers use telescopes to guide children and adults in observing the night sky. Observatory Star Parties follow the last show in the planetarium.

  • May 27: Star Party at dark after 7pm planetarium astronomy show
  • June 10 and 24: Star Party at dark after 8pm planetarium astronomy show
  • July 8 and 22: Star Party at dark after 8pm planetarium astronomy show
  • Aug 5 and 19: Star Party at dark after 8pm planetarium astronomy show

Laser Lights Music Shows:  The planetarium dazzles visitors with multi-colored laser light shows synchronized to popular music across the 40-foot dome. Featured artists include the Beatles, U2, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and many more country and pop artists.

Doors open 30 minutes before show times.

  • 5:30pm and 7pm on Saturday nights beginning Saturday, May 13
  • 5:30pm and 7pm on Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday nights beginning Friday, June 2
  • 8pm bonus laser shows June 3 and 17; July 1, 15 and 29; and August 12 and 26.

Enhance your laser lights show experience with special 3D laser viewing glasses available in the gift shop.

Due to safety concerns, doors close after shows begin. Discount and Fun Cards are not accepted for laser shows. For a complete schedule of evening laser shows, visit the Planetarium page on the website or https://landbetweenthelakes.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Laser-May-August-2017.pdf.

Forest Service Road 174 damage

Forest Service Road 174 Closure

Road 174 at Land Between the Lakes will be closed until funds for repairs are received from the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) Program.

Road 174 is closed at Bethlehem Cemetery, south to the intersection of Roads 357, 358 and 174. The road was damaged during storms in July 2016 and short-term repairs to the culvert have failed.

Funding for permanent repairs has been approved, but will not be received until 2018.

Northern portions of Road 174 can still be accessed from Roads 165 and 356.  Southern portions of Road 174 can still be access from Roads 201, 204 and 357.

wildlife celebration 2017

Wildlife Celebration at Land Between the Lakes

LAND BETWEEN THE LAKES, KY/TN – May 15, 2017 – Woodlands Nature Station will have our annual Wildlife Celebration, Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday through Monday, May 27-29, 2017. Nature Station admission is $5 age 13 and up, $3 age 5-12, and free for ages 4 and under.

Guests can learn all about nature’s superheroes, visit with Smokey Bear and find ways they can assist wildlife in the Nature Station’s backyard at Land Between the Lakes. Special event programs are included with standard admission unless otherwise noted.

“Join us to help celebrate the diversity and complexity of native wildlife through a fun superhero theme. Bring the whole family and see wolves, turkeys and bats in a whole new way,” says Monica West, Land Between the Lakes naturalist. “We’re also offering two canoe trips that weekend for people to view wildlife from the water. We usually see a lot of native birds, mammals and reptiles along the shoreline and on the water during these outings.”

Nestled in the woods between Honker and Hematite lakes, the Nature Station serves as a gateway to the 6,800-acre Nature Watch Area. The friendly staff also serve as “go to” specialists for wildlife viewing throughout Land Between the Lakes.

Call 270-924-2020 to pre-register for guided canoe trips Monday-Friday, 8am-4:30pm. Daily canoe and kayak rentals start Saturday, May 27, 10am-4pm, weather permitting. For more details, call 270-924-2299.

Saturday, May 27, 2017wildlife celebration 2017

10am-4pm – Be a Hero for Turtles
10am-4pm – Be a Hero for Hurt and Orphaned Animals
11:30am – Owls: X-Men of the Sky
1pm – Transformer Turkeys
2:30pm – Bats: Power Behind the Caped Crusader
3:30pm – Red Wolves: Wookiees of the Land Between the Lakes
6-8:30pm–Sunset Canoe Trip ($25; Reservations required; call 270-924-2020)

Sunday, May 28, 2017

10am-4pm – Be a Monarch Butterfly Buddy
11:30am – Just-hiss League of America
1:30pm – Fantastic Four of Lake and Shore
2:30pm – Captain America: The Bald Eagle
3:30pm – Nature Station Daredevil
6-8:30pm–Family Sunset Canoe Trip ($25; Reservations required; call 270-924-2020)

Monday, May 29, 2017

10am-4pm – Throughout the day–visits with Smokey Bear
10am-4pm – Be a Scientist Hero for Nature
11:30am – Who’s the Real Flash?
1:30pm – Be A Superhero for Baby Birds
3:30pm – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles