Campgrounds begin to reopen under Corps plan

Published 6:16 pm Wednesday, May 20, 2020


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As part of a phased approach for reopening facilities as part of its COVID-19 reopening plan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District is opening its corps-managed campgrounds within the Cumberland River Basin in Tennessee June 1, 2020. 

Nashville District’s corps-managed campgrounds in Kentucky will reopen June 11 in alignment with Kentucky’s recently announced “Phase 2” reopening plan. Campground reservations were previously expected to be cancelled through May 31. Individuals with reservations impacted by this closure will have an opportunity to modify their reservation in order to avoid cancellation of dates beyond June 10.The deadline to complete any modifications to reservations is May 25. After that date all reservations will be cancelled and full refunds will be issued.

Email newsletter signup

While these campgrounds and most day use areas will be accessible for visitors to enjoy in June, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. For example, group picnic shelters and developed swimming areas will remain closed at this time. Visitor centers and resource manager’s offices will re-open for limited public access. Issuance of special event permits, special activity permits or letters of permission for small gatherings, as well as small USACE sponsored events to include interpretive programs, public meetings, and other public gatherings, can resume in accordance with federal, state or local guidelines for social gatherings.

“Protecting the health and safety of the recreating public, volunteers, contractors and our personnel remains our highest priority,” said Lt. Col. Sonny B. Avichal, Nashville District commander. “We will continue to assess the situation and will conduct a phased reopening of additional areas/events as state and local guidelines allow social gathering sizes commensurate with the capacity of the amenity or proposed event. We will share those updates with the public as they become available.”

This announcement applies to all Corps-managed campgrounds and recreation areas at Lake Barkley, Lake Cumberland, Laurel River Lake and Martins Fork Lake in Kentucky, and Cheatham Lake, J. Percy Priest Lake, Old Hickory Lake, Cordell Hull Lake, Center Hill Lake and Dale Hollow Lake in Tennessee.

State-operated or concessionaire operated campgrounds at Corps Lakes have their own policies in place. The Nashville District recommends that the public contact the respective state agencies for their operating status.

At the time of this news release, boat ramps as well as parks that were already open or not able to be closed remain open.  Restrooms in open areas were opened as needed May 1. Day-use areas will not charge a fee until at least Oct. 1, 2020.

The Corps of Engineers reminds all visitors to follow these steps to recreate responsibly: honor the six-foot social distance rule, stay away from parks and recreation areas if you are sick or have symptoms, keep parks clean by practicing “pack in and pack out” etiquette, and always wear a life jacket when near the water.