For more information, visit https://jeepjamboreeusa.com/2017-event-schedule/.
This event has been cancelled due to inclement weather.
Volunteers are needed for the annual Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Area clean-up day. Volunteers will engage in a variety of facility and trail maintenance projects.
A required safety briefing will begin at 9am at the Turkey Bay gatehouse. Volunteers should bring lunch, water, and an OHV. All other materials and tools will be provided.
For more information, contact Kyle Varel at 270.924.2031.
In the event of inclement weather or wet weather closure, the clean-up day will not be rescheduled.
It’s been a month and I am pleased to announce that Turkey Bay Off-highway Vehicle Area opened today. Slowly we are putting your national recreation area back together after the intense storms in July. You will find my last update at https://www.landbetweenthelakes.us/storm-damage-update-july-8-2016/.
Last Saturday, August 6, the Homeplace 1850s Working Farm received visitors for the first time since the storm struck in early July. We wrote about the flooding that occurred at the Homeplace 1850s Farm in our post at https://www.landbetweenthelakes.us/homeplace-1850s-farm-storm-damage-2016/. We still have five of the ten picnic tables missing and have begun to wonder if we will ever find them. After installing a new well and pump, we had to ensure the quality of the water. Final testing last Friday gave us the go ahead to open. We still have carpet and other small items needing repair. Overall, you can step back in time to the 1850s just like you did before.
Our road system received extensive damage as many of you experienced. We repaired roads to make them passible all across our property. There is still work to do. We requested help from the Federal Highway Administration for funding through their Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads program commonly known as ERFO. We hope to hear from them soon. Until then, we will continue to do all we can to provide safe roads across the recreation area.
We figured out a temporary solution for the road damage at the Elk & Bison Prairie. We opened it up to visitors on Friday, July 22. You can find photos and captions of the damage on our blog at https://www.landbetweenthelakes.us/south-bison-range-storm-damage/.
We were able to open the Planetarium right away by pumping water out from the front of the dome theater seating. The power outage caused the flooding in the theater when the sump pump, that normally removes any water, sat silent.
The Woodlands Nature Station had minimal damage and opened that Saturday, July 9, after restoring power. The following weekend the Nature Station held their popular Cool Critters Day event which hosted over 1,200 people throughout the day.
Wranglers Campground completed their repairs to open just in time for their 20th Annual Primitive Rodeo on the 15th and 16th. It ended up being a great weekend for a rodeo.
In all our campgrounds we had to remove several hazardous trees, restore some of the camping sites, and remove flood and wind debris. This included extensive cleanup around Birmingham Ferry Campground for the Kentucky Drag Boat Association’s drag boat races last weekend on August 6 and 7. Birmingham Ferry area was the first place hit by the tornado that skipped across Land Between the Lakes. Cravens Bay Campground was the last and it remains closed due to the damage.
My staff has done a tremendous job getting us back on track to serve you, our visitors. I commend them for their efforts. We did pull in a few outsiders to speed up the process. These included engineers who helped with our road assessments and sawyers who helped assess tree damage. The sawyers also stayed on to cut down several hazardous trees in our campgrounds, across our trails, and along roadways. All in all it was a great team effort.
Even our guests helped us out. We wrote about the Camp MARC group at Brandon Spring Group Center in our blog at https://www.landbetweenthelakes.us/stormy-summer-camp-brandon-spring/. It turns out their actions diverting water away from the dorms helped to lessen the damage at Brandon Spring. We thank them.
We still have some work ahead. Cosmetic repairs need to be completed at our facilities. Some camping sites need repairs in our backcountry camping areas. Some of our roads and trails require major repairs which, will take time.
We also plan to hold a timber salvage sale in the areas where the tornado touched down. At this point we’ve identified seven areas for possible sale starting at Birmingham Ferry Campground and skipping along Forest Service Roads 117 and 118 leading into Cravens Bay. We estimate the tornado ripped into 200+ acres in these seven areas. It appears only Sicilian Cemetery experienced adjacent blowdown of trees. Our Heritage staff will check the area with cemetery contacts soon.
This storm came like no other. This was the first time in anyone’s memory that we received that much rain in such a short period. We’ve experienced the lakes rising 12 feet – we never experienced 12 foot floodwaters relocating picnic tables, bales of hay, and tearing down bison fencing.
One other odd item we noticed is how the tornado and subsequent winds damaged our trees. Typically wind damage affects trees along our ridge tops – the highest points. This time the winds blew down trees in our lower “drainage” areas, and in some cases, left trees on ridge tops untouched.
Our only explanation centers on the soil saturation caused by the 17 inches of rain. As our Environmental Stewardship Department Manager John Westbrook stated, “everything was already so sopping wet in our low lying areas that these trees just could not stand against the brute force of these winds.”
I also want to thank you, our customers, for your patience during this difficult time. We greatly appreciate your understanding. Remember if you see something — say something.
P.S. We have posted pictures on our Flickr account if you would like to see more.
Join us for the 19th Annual Jeep Jamboree at Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area.
Jeep owners must pre-register at www.jeepjamboreeusa.com. Turkey Bay is one of 33 Jeep Jamboree locations nationwide and is considered to be a family oriented four-wheel-drive adventure destination.
Each event caters to every level of off-road expertise. Experienced guides will help each Jeep operator and passengers to navigate through the wooded trails, challenge obstacles, and other off-highway trail adventures. For more event information, visit https://jeepjamboreeusa.com/trips/land-between-the-lakes/.
We have all heard it before; “respect the resource.” What does that actually mean? It means we must work together to maintain and improve what we have.
At Land Between the Lakes we place a tremendous focus on maintaining natural settings, scenic views, and healthy forests while balancing the needs of our diverse user groups. Activities like habitat management, environmental education, camping, and hiking might seem unrelated; yet each one has the potential to affect the other. By being responsible, it is possible for everyone to enjoy the land for years to come.
Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area serves as a great example of land use here. Riders navigate almost 100 miles of trails. Before active management began, riders cut their own trails and the resulting landscape resembled a moonscape. Today they enjoy a natural setting. We did add a rock garden, where drivers crawl over boulders and give their shocks a workout.
In March we received unusually large amounts of rain. The rain forced us to close Turkey Bay temporarily. We do this to protect the trails from erosion and degradation and keep the area green and beautiful.
Rain can also severely affect roads throughout Land Between the Lakes. It has caused washouts and dangerous erosion. We keep a watchful eye on road conditions as even a few cars driving through mud holes in gravel roads cause serious damage. It’s a challenge as we maintain over 450 miles of roads. We rely on our visitors to help us identify areas that need attention.
Over 1.5 million visitors use our paved, unimproved gravel or dirt roads. Previous residents of the area travel the roads and trails to reach remote cemeteries. Hikers, hunters and campers also use our back country roads. Purposely rutting roads hurts everyone.
We all must do our part to preserve what we have. If you see or hear that anyone has misused a part of Land Between the Lakes, remind them of what’s at stake.
Like you, we want to keep the national recreation area relevant and a first choice destination. Constantly repairing vandalism takes away from our ability to serve. Come outside and play, respect the resource.
Volunteers will engage in a variety of facility and trail maintenance projects. A required safety briefing will begin at 9:30am at the Turkey Bay gatehouse.
Volunteers should bring lunch, water, and an OHV. All other materials and tools will be provided. The clean-up will last until 3pm. For more information, contact Kyle Varel at 270-924-2031.
In the event of inclement weather or wet weather closure, the cleanup day will not be rescheduled.
Where will your next adventure be?
Energy Lake Campground
Elk & Bison Prairie
Homeplace 1850s Working Farm
Planetarium & Observatory
Turkey Bay Off Highway Vehicle Area
Woodlands Nature Station
Land Between The Lakes 50th Anniversary (15 minute)
Land Between The Lakes 50th Anniversary (3 minute)
With more than 300 miles of natural shoreline, hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, horse riding and off highway vehicle riding trails, and 400 miles of scenic roads at Land Between The Lakes, there’s a whole world waiting to be discovered. Go to www.LandBetweenTheLakes.US and click on the “Visit” and “See and Do” tabs to find out more.
Hope to see you soon!
Submitted by Brian Truskey, Communications Department Apprentice