Visitors Rave About Beauty of Lake Cumberland in May
May 24, 2012 Share

Visitors Rave About Beauty of Lake Cumberland in May

“Oh my gosh, yes! There’s plenty of water. This is a beautiful lake.”

JoAnn Lecture looked excitedly at the pristine waters slightly rippled by a restless breeze. She and friends were about to launch their boat on Lake Cumberland at General Burnside Island State Park. What a way to spend summer’s first holiday weekend!

JoAnn and husband, Ray, know every twist and turn along the 35,000 acres of deep, blue waters. They live beside the lake at Jabez near the Lake Cumberland 4-H Camp.

The Lectures’ home is in a small section of Wayne County cut off from Monticello by the lake. They have to drive all the way to Burnside and then on Ky. 90 to get to their county seat, but it doesn’t seem to bother.

JoAnn said she was not aware of an unsuccessful effort many years ago to have that isolated section of Wayne County annexed by Pulaski County. “They talked about a bridge across the lake,” she laughed, “but I don’t think that’s going to happen either.”

The Lectures were at the lake with Bob and Mary Anne Runnels of Jupiter, Fla.

“They’re up here because it’s too hot in Florida this time of year,” JoAnn laughed. Actually, the Runnelses stopped on the way from Florida to Lexington for their granddaughter’s graduation.
“I used to come to Lake Cumberland all the time before we moved to Florida about two years ago,” said Bob Runnels. “This is our first time back since we moved to Florida.”

Runnels is very familiar with this area. “We’ve lived all over Kentucky … we used to live at Monticello. We lived at Richmond, Ind. before moving to Florida,” he said. The only difference he sees in the lake is that on this upper end many coves are dry where houseboats used to moor.

JoAnn sounds like an ambassador for the chamber of commerce. She bubbles with enthusiasm about Lake Cumberland.

“Once they extended the (boat-launching) ramps, the lake is beautiful … fishermen say the fishing is good,” she declared. “What else could you want?”

JoAnn did fuss about people dumping trash in the lake. “It gets worse and worse, she said, adding: “But the water is still beautiful.”

Memorial Day 2012 kicks off the sixth summer that Lake Cumberland has been kept as close as possible to 680 feet above sea level, about 40 feet below normal, to facilitate repairs at Wolf Creek Dam. The lake level was lowered in January 2007 to begin a $594 million rehabilitation of the dam that engineers say will permanently repair the structure plagued with seepage during most of its 62-year existence.

Lake Cumberland, at the top of its power pool, has 1,255 miles of shoreline. The water extends 101 miles from west of Jamestown through western and southern parts of Pulaski County to near Corbin.

It is the ninth largest lake in the United States and, even at its current level, it is the third largest lake east of the Mississippi River.

It won’t be as long as it has been before uncontrolled seepage through Wolf Creek Dam is permanently stopped. Corps of Engineers’ officials say it is their intent to have the dam repaired and in normal operation by Summer 2014.

Editor Emeritus
Commonwealth Journal