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The children scrambled after each other, racing up the steps to the slide. Then they were off - sliding and squealing landing with a splash in the waters of Green River Lake. A quick swim to the houseboat where they were staying with their family and it was up the ladder to do it again. It is their vacation and nothing is going to stop them from having fun. Green River Lake in Kentucky's Southern Lakes Region seems to be made for fun.
In reality, Green River Lake was created for flood control. It is an impoundment of the Green River which takes its name from the color of its water. The Green River is a tributary of the Ohio River, and at 370 miles long, it is the longest river entirely within Kentucky. The US Army Corps of Engineers started construction on the dam on the Green River in 1964, and Green River Lake was completed in 1969. The 8,210 acre lake is part of 33,793 acres of land and water comprising the Green River Lake project making it the largest project in the Louisville District. The entire 147 mile shoreline is surrounded by the state park or Corps controlled land.
Since its construction Green River Lake has prevented over 123 million dollars of damage caused by flooding. It has also become a very popular recreation lake, bringing in almost 35 million dollars in tourism revenue in 2008 alone. The Corps manages several campgrounds, picnic areas and beaches. There is also a US Army Corps of Engineers run visitor center with a Civil War era cabin. Trails for hiking cross the rolling hills surrounding Green River Lake.
Quite a few Corps run boat ramps provide access to the lake and there are also a few marinas. Green River Lake has more than enough water for boating and waterskiing, and house boats provide accommodations and recreation. Paddlers can explore the lake's tree lined shore by canoe or kayak.
The Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR) stocks muskie in Green River Lake every year. Anglers come from across the state to hunt the trophy fish, a lucky few pulling fish over 40 inches out of the lake. The peak muskie seasons are March through April and September through November. There are also abundant populations of white, largemouth, small mouth and Kentucky bass, along with bluegill and crappie. The US Army Corps of Engineers and the Kentucky DFWR co-host a kids fishing tournament every year on Green River Lake.
The lake winds back and forth like the river it used to be, and the Green River Lake State Park sits on one of the bends. Established in 1969, the 1,331 acre park has a very popular lakefront campground, beach, picnic area and playground. There are miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horse back riding. An 18 hole mini golf course, gift shop and a marina with a restaurant and boat rentals round out the amenities.
The Green River Wildlife Management Area makes up the rest of the shoreline of Green River Lake. Trails meander across the 20,500 acres of oak and hickory forests that wrap te shore of Green River Lake. It is open to hunting and there are deer, turkey, small game and waterfowl in season.
Green River Lake sprawls across parts of Adair, Casey and Taylor Counties in south central Kentucky. It is 90 miles south of Louisville and just a few miles from Campbellsville. Campbellsville has restaurants, shops and any amenities a visitor might need. In addition to the lake front cabins including a few floating cabins, Campbellsville has accommodations ranging from hotels to vacation rentals. There is also real estate for sale in Campbellsville for those wishing to extend their stay.
Having more than proved its worth for flood control, Green River Lake is also demonstrating its value as a recreation destination. There is more than enough land and water set aside for everyone to play at Green River Lake.
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