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Lake Robinson spreads out over 2,250 acres in Chesterfield and Darlington Counties near Hartsville, South Carolina. Lake Robinson is long and narrow, about 4.5 miles long and less than a mile wide. The lake was created by Progress Power (formerly Carolina Power & Light) with construction of the Lake Robinson Dam on Black Creek in 1960. Lake Robinson, also known as Lake H. B. Robinson, was named after H. Burton Robinson, a South Carolina native and former executive vice president of Carolina Power & Light. Lake H.B. Robinson should not be confused with Lake John Robinson located in Greenville County, South Carolina.
Lake Robinson provides power and flood control to South Carolina residents, and recreational opportunities to residents and visitors alike. The H.B. Robinson electrical generating station includes side-by-side coal and nuclear plants, providing power to about 400,000 homes. Lake waters are used to cool the plant's generators. The heated water discharges into an adjacent cooling lake and re-enters Lake Robinson via a canal that spans nearly the length of the lake. Lake Robinson water levels are held fairly constant at 220 feet above sea level in order to provide cooling for the power plant. During periods of heavy rain, Lake Robinson also stores excess water flowing in from Black Creek to prevent downstream flooding.
Lake Robinson offers up plenty of recreational opportunities, including fishing, boating, jet skiing, water skiing, swimming, camping, and picnicking. Progress Energy operates a public boat ramp and pier at the north end of the lake, just off of Lake Robinson Drive.
Lake Robinson welcomes anglers with catches of largemouth bass, chain pickerel, warmouth, redear sunfish, and bluegill. A valid South Carolina fishing license is required. Check the South Carolina Fish Consumption Advisory (see below) for certain fish species. Anglers also enjoy the sport of catch-and-release fishing.
Camping enthusiasts will find RV, camper, and tent sites on both the east and west shores of Lake Robinson. All sites have electric hook-ups; many sites also have water and sewer hook-ups. Check the specific campground for other amenities such as a boat landing, picnic facilities, swimming area, and concession stand.
For some off-water fun, take some time to visit the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and the Sand Hills State Forest just a few miles from Lake Robinson. Established in 1939, this unique area characterized by deep sands covers almost 46,000 acres in Chesterfield and Darlington Counties. The Forest and NWR protect and enhance the flora and fauna of the area, particularly the longleaf pine habitat, the endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers, and migratory birds. The Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge includes a nine mile paved auto tour route, two hiking trails (one and three miles), wildlife observation sites, fishing ponds, two observation towers, and one photography blind. The NWR permits limited hunting and fishing; check regulations for dates.
The Sand Hills State Forest became part of the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge in 1991. Within the state forest is Sugar Loaf Mountain, a popular family recreation area. Composed of sand, "The Mountain" rises a hundred feet above the surrounding terrain. This recreation area provides cooling shade from the sun and includes picnic shelters, a fishing lake, and nature trails. Visitors enjoy bird watching, primitive camping, and horseback riding. Permits are required for horseback riding, which can be obtained from the Sand Hills State Forest Headquarters.
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