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Chickamauga Lake is a fabulous recreational reservoir. It is located in southeast Tennessee, 20 miles from Chattanooga, and includes 810 miles of shoreline to enjoy. The name Chickamauga derives from a warlike tribe that separated from the main Cherokee Indian tribe and built its chief village along Chickamauga Creek.
Originally developed for flood control and power generation, Chickamauga Lake is now heavily used for recreation. Its diverse outdoor recreational offerings for both summer and winter include water sports, boating, sailing, hiking, biking, camping, fishing, wildlife viewing, golf, and swimming. Chickamauga's popularity is evidenced by millions of annual visitors seeking the great outdoor experiences it provides.
The Chickamauga Dam and Reservoir were a New Deal project established to create more consistent navigation, flood control, hydroelectric power generation and recreation on the Tennessee River. The Dam is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) system. The 59-mile long reservoir was created by damming the Tennessee and Hiwassee Rivers. Construction started in 1936 and was completed in 1940. Prior to its construction, the City of Chattanooga faced one of the most serious flooding problems in the USA. Today, Chickamauga Dam and Lake have contributed to economic improvement and expanded recreational opportunities in Tennessee. Chickamauga Dam is a mile long; its turbines for power generation produce 160,000 kilowatts of electricity.
Chickamauga Lake is also part of the Tennessee River navigation designed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, consisting of navigation locks that allow barges and boats to travel past the dams. The Chickamauga Lock controls boat traffic between Chickamauga and Nickajack reservoirs. Upstream, the Watts Bar Lock controls boat traffic between Watts Bar and Chickamauga reservoirs.
Chickamauga Lake provides a wealth of outdoor recreational opportunities. There are more than 35 boat ramps, 15 marinas and two full service State Parks - Harrison Bay and Booker T. Washington. Campgrounds, both developed and primitive, surround the reservoir. Mini-campsites provide attractive venues for boaters and campers. Hundreds of camping sites, many picnic and recreation areas, playgrounds, and swimming areas dot the reservoir's shoreline. Marinas provide slips for boating, food, fuel, and boat rentals. Harrison Bay State Park sports an 18-hole PGA golf course.
Sport fishing in Chickamauga Lake features black bass, black crappie, crappie, largemouth and smallmouth bass and spotted bass. Perch and bluegill afford lots of fun for young anglers. Seven developed hiking trails and nearly a dozen developed swimming areas add to outdoor enjoyment. Wildlife viewing is enhanced by a significant variety of bird and other animal species, including the seldom-seen sandhill crane. For geocachers, hundreds of caches include some that are very easy to find. A GPS will add to your enjoyment while hiking!
Southeast Tennessee's scenic Chickamauga Lake is an outdoor enthusiast's gem. It will not disappoint you.
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