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RAINS RAISE WATER LEVEL IN GUAGES, KERR LAKE’S LEVEL & QUESTIONS ABOUT LAKE VISITOR’S PLANS

“I remember the first time an out-of-state visitor asked me about high and low tides at Kerr Lake. I laughed until I cried.” Comment from Kerr Lake Park Watch’s Frank Timberlake, who offers this information about the tide going up this weekend at Kerr Lake.
 
“We’ve had an update from the US Army Corps of Engineers that due to recent rains, many very heavy in the Roanoke River Basin, the lake levels are going up,” said Timberlake. There’s no need for serious concern or cancellations at this point, but they’re (USACE) expecting Kerr Lake to hit 306 feet above mean sea level by sometime Monday, if the rains continue.”
 
Ashley Hatchell, Water Resources Manager with the US Army Corps of Engineers said, “Heavy rain is in the basin and more is forecast for today and tomorrow. Rivers are responding and inflows are starting to increase into the lakes. The following shows the 7-day total rainfall on the basin. Totals are near 2-4 inches basin-wide, with higher amounts in various locations.”
Hatchell added that lake goers should expect a peak near 306 ft Monday if rainfall forecast materializes. The Corps will begin 15,000 cfs (cubic feet per second) releases Monday (increased from 9,000 cfs as were requested in the original declaration), to address the rain that has already fallen. Further increases may be needed in releases next week to manage lake levels. The Corps will revise the declaration on Monday to adjust if necessary.
 
As of 5:00 PM today, Kerr Lake’s level had risen to 301.58. Forecasts change and changes in releases constantly change the lake level. People with plans at the public facilities along the shore of Kerr Lake this weekend and next Memorial Day weekend should check the lake level from time to time.

Posted in: KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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SPRING IS HERE & CAMPING IS HERE OR JUST AROUND THE CORNER!

Spring has sprung and camping season at Kerr Lake has begun and we at Kerr Lake Park Watch want to update on park openings.

Although there are some year-round sections that are open during the winter in some of the campgrounds around Kerr Lake, most of them open around Spring.

VIRGINIA STATE PARKS

The two Virginia State Parks on Kerr Lake opened recently according to Visitor Services Director for Virginia State Parks, Nancy Heltman who said, “We opened camping season the first Friday in March which was the 2nd. Yes, the weekend of the nor’easter and now a snow storm on the first full day of Spring. Been a tough start to the year.”

Heltman added that the new Splash Park at Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville will open when the weather warms but an exact date is not yet known.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE RECREATION AREAS

In North Carolina where there are seven State Recreation Areas, Superintendent Bryce Fleming updated Kerr Lake Park Watch with a comprehensive list of park and sectional openings:

Park Name                                            Opening Date                          Closing Date

Bullocksville    All Sites                      March 26, 2018                       October 1, 2018

County Line     All Sites                      March 26, 2018                       October 1, 2018

Henderson Point         Area 1             May 21, 2018                          October 1, 2018

Area 2                                                     March 26, 2018                       October 1, 2018

Group Area                                           March 26, 2018                        October 1, 2018

Hibernia                     Area 1              May 21, 2018                          September 3, 2018

Area 2              March 26, 2018                       October 29, 2018

Area 3              May 21, 2018                          September 3, 2018

Group Area     March 26, 2018                        October 29, 2018

Kimball Point             Area 1              May 21, 2018                          October 1, 2018

Area 2              March 26, 2018                       October 29, 2018

Nutbush                      Area 1              March 26, 2018                       October 1, 2018

Area 3              Open All Year                          Open All Year

Area 4              May 21, 2018                          September 3, 2018

Satterwhite Point/J.C. Cooper  Area 1 (Sites 1-42, 80-104, H1, H2, H3)

Open All Year                          Open All Year

Area 2 (Sites 43-79)    March 26, 2018                       October 29, 2018

Area 3 (Sites 111-123)    May 21, 2018           September 3, 2018

Group Area     March 26, 2018    October 29, 2018

 

US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

The US Army Corps of Engineers operates several parks that offer camping as well as a number of day-use areas.  The campgrounds include North Bend Park, Rudd’s Creek, Longwood Park, and Buffalo Landing.

While there is no readily available list of campground opening and closing dates, there is a recreational link on the USACE website that gives some park information and contact info.  That link is:  http://www.saw.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation.aspx.

The weather is the major player in enjoying all these parks and campgrounds around Kerr Lake. So watch it, watch for it and plan accordingly.

With regards to getting out on the waters of Kerr Lake, please remember this, LIFE JACKETS WORN, NOBODY MOURNS!

To all of the 580+ members of Kerr Lake Park Watch and on behalf of them, we who operate Kerr Lake Park Watch wish you a wonderful camping and park season!

Posted in: KLPW - Corps of Engineers Campgrounds, KLPW - N C State Recreation Areas, KLPW - Occoneechee State Park, KLPW - PARK LIST, KLPW- Staunton River State Park

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HAPPY NEW YEAR & YES IT’S STILL LOW TIDE AT KERR

Happy and pretty dry New Year from Kerr Lake.  Kerr Lake is suffering from chronic low tide.  The lake went down in September and has remained uncustomarily low around the 294-foot level for about four months.   Normal lake level is 300 feet above mean sea level.  You can see from the attached USACE graph that the current level is below all measured “should be” levels.  In preparation for at least two hurricanes the U S Army Corps of Engineers lowered the Kerr Lake level by about six feet and there hasn’t been much rainfall in the watershed since then.

The water has been so low that grass is growing on some of the normally water-covered shore.  Some dock owners like Kerr Lake Park Watch Steering Committee member Larry Matthews are taking advantage of the low tide at Kerr.

Matthews says, “If you can stand the cold,  now is a great time to work on your dock on dry land. Took these pics of our dock today in Wilson Cove just down from Hibernia with water level at 294.3′.”

All the frustration in the world will not raise the tide in Kerr Lake.  It will take rain and lots of it.  In the meantime,  you can visit one of the open parks and you can walk farther around the shoreline than ever.

Happy New Year from the more than 580 members of Kerr Lake Park Watch!

Posted in: KLPW - Boating and Related Improvements, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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IT’S SPRING & THAT MEANS KERR LAKE RISES – FOR UPDATES VISIT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE.

Here we were almost showing up in the drought column in Piedmont North Carolina and Southside Virginia, then came the rains.  It’s Spring and especially during April, the showers that bring the flowers usually show up.

Kerr Lake is now over 306.5 feet above MSL (Mean Sea Level – 300′ is normal full pool) and rising, expecting to crest between 309 and 310 feet.  A number of U S Army Corps of Engineers and North Carolina State Recreation Areas are either closed or partially closed due to the high waters.  We have had no information out of DCR or the Virginia State Parks.

We are currently posting information about parks and public use areas on Kerr Lake as the information is provided to us.  As the list of boat ramps and campsites inundated by water is constantly changing we will continue to post that information on our Facebook page which you can find at www.facebook.com/kerrlakeparkwatch.

If you have camping reservations from now through the weekend, Kerr Lake Park Watch suggests that you contact the reservation system for the public park entity as individual state and federal rangers may not have the latest information.

Kerr Lake Park Watch has asked the U S Army Corps of Engineers if the QRR Plan (Quasi-Run-of-River) adopted last year will hasten the departure of the flood waters.

In the final analysis, Kerr Lake is a reservoir, not a lake.  And this, well, it’s April and the showers.  You know that story.

Photo of Nutbush area 4/26/17 by Kelly N. Blake

Posted in: KLPW - Camping Safety, KLPW - N C State Recreation Areas, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, KLPW - WATER RELATED

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FIRST OF ITS KIND SPLASH PARK IS COMING TO KERR LAKE – Virginia Governor Announces Park Improvement at Occoneechee Ground-Breaking

The 64-year old John H. Kerr Reservoir has seen a lot of changes and improvements during its lifetime.  A lot of those changes have been positive and directly made for the public’s use and enjoyment; among them campgrounds, boat ramps, picnic areas, hiking trails, playgrounds, restrooms and more.

At a ground-breaking ceremony earlier this week at Occoneechee State Park in Clarksville, Virginia a new, attraction-type of venue was unveiled, that is a “splash park” to be built within the park.  A splash park is described as a recreation area for water play that has little or no standing water. This is said to eliminate the need for lifeguards or other supervision, as there is minor risk of drowning.  Designers and project managers for the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Richmond design firm are calling Occoneechee’s new wet spot a “splashground.”

About 35 people attended the “by invitation only” event earlier this week at Occoneechee with most of those being public officials from DCR , the US Army Corps of Engineers (which has approved the project), Occoneechee and area park staff and a handful of local officials.

The main attraction was the combining of the ground-breaking and an official visit to Occoneechee by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who upon election, promised to visit every state park in the Commonwealth.  Occoneechee State Park was park to visit and the Governor made his promise become truth.  Twice the same day the governor visited the other Kerr Lake Virginia State Park, Staunton River.  While at Occoneechee, the affable McAuliffe commented to Kerr Lake Park Watch’s Frank Timberlake that Occoneechee is a “gem” of a park with the added value of being on Kerr Lake.  He was surprised to learn that Timberlake has been visiting and/or camping at Occoneechee for over 50 years. McAuliffe asked Timberlake what has drawn him to the park and the Governor received a long, positive list.

McAuliffe was accompanied by some staff and security people, but he was also accompanied by some family members, including his niece shown below as they discussed the differences in the Kerr Lake parks from other Virginia State Parks.  She told Kerr Lake Park Watch that she particularly liked the fact that a major percentage of the water going out into the splashground will be recaptured and recycled through the system.  Kerr Lake Park Watch attempted to get more information on the reclamation system and its advantages from DCR but has received nothing by posting time.

Earlier this year commenting on the economic impact that Virginia State Parks make to the Commonwealth’s coffers, Governor McAuliffe said that the park system brought in visitor fees of $224 million in 2016.  Officials at the ceremony commented that Occoneechee State Park had revenues over $4 million last year.  The new “Splashground” will undoubtedly bring in more revenues as it will be a fee-based activity.  DCR officials anticipate that the Occoneechee splash park charge will be between $5 and $8 per person.   Park officials said that there’s a comparable sprayground at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield, and the price there ranges from $5-$8, depending on the age and the day, with children under three getting free admission.  Projections on costs for the project that will take about a year to complete are between $1.5 million and $1.8 million.  The new splashground is expected to open Spring 2018.

Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - Occoneechee State Park

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MAKE YOUR WANT LIST FOR THE NORTH CAROLINA PARKS ON KERR LAKE KNOWN…MAKE WAVES!

IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO MAKE WAVES! If you visit any of the seven (7) Kerr Lake State Recreation Areas on the North Carolina side of Kerr Lake then it’s time for your opinion.

The Division of NC State Parks and Recreation is putting together a survey on how best to spend the $3.75 million from the earlier-passed Connect NC Bond referendum.  When that survey is ready, we will share the link for your convenience.

Those of us in Kerr Lake Park Watch want to see some improvements/replacements of bath facilities like at Nutbush and Kimball Point.

We also would like to see some of the pressure for electric sites removed by adding electric and water sites to Henderson Point and Hibernia.

We have a detailed story coming about the late last summer visit of NC State Park top officials and some ideas that are emerging. But you, the park user, the visitor, should now express your ideas.

It’s a good time to put forth your ideas as NC State Parks will spend $3.75 million on something at Kerr Lake.  You can wait for the link to the survey or you can write now on FB or send your opinions to info@kerrlakeparkwatch.org.

You know the needs…now is the time to share them.  Make your wave!

Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - N C State Recreation Areas

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KERR LAKE AREA – Recycle Your Christmas Trees into Fish Habitat!

BOYDTON, Va. – Once again the US Army Corps of Engineers at John H. Kerr Reservoir will be accepting used live Christmas Trees until January 31st to be recycled into fish habitat.  Designated drop off areas will be located at four Corps boat ramps/day use areas located throughout Mecklenburg County.  The four areas that will be accepting trees this year are:

  • Visitor Assistance Center by North Bend Park at Kerr Dam
  • Rudds Creek Day Use Area, on Highway 58 just outside Boydton
  • Longwood Boat Ramp, on Highway 15 South, outside of Clarksville
  • Bluestone Boat Ramp, on Highway 15 North, outside of ClarksvilleEach of these areas will have designated marked off drop locations.

At the end of January the Corps will take the donated trees, bind them together, and sink them for fish habitat. Some parks already have a marked fishing reef buoy nearby which is where the trees will be placed. “These trees are some of the best forms of underwater structure. Crappie, bass, bluegills and other fish will often use the trees to congregate in and around,” according to Billy Hoffer, Conservation Biologist at Kerr Reservoir.

Outdoor Family Choosing Christmas Tree Together

Outdoor Family Choosing Christmas Tree Together

Please drop off your Christmas tree, free of decorations, to one of the four locations above so we can keep trees out of our landfills and improve our fishery here at John H. Kerr Reservoir.  Also, please remember that it is a violation to place structures in the lake without permission.

If you have any questions or concerns about this project feel free to call Billy Hoffer, Conservation Biologist at the Corps Visitor Assistance Center at (434) 738-6143 extension 6159.

Kerr Lake Park Watch adds, take the kids along to the parks when you discard the Christmas tree.  It’s a great time to take a brisk walk around the park and the area!

Posted in: KLPW - Environmental, KLPW - US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

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KERR LAKE LEVEL RECEDES FROM 307.5 DOWN TO UNDER 305 FEET – HEADING BACK TO NORMAL

The water is coming down at Kerr Lake! As of the last hour, the lake is at 304.76 feet above mean sea level. The normal full pool level is 300 feet.

There are still some boat ramps, campsites, public areas and local roads affected, so if you are in doubt, call your local public agency in charge of the public area you plan to visit, being either the US Army Corps of Engineers, North Carolina State Parks or Virginia State Parks.

Recent rain from Hurricane Matthew brought Kerr up to 307.5 ft. (7.5 ft. into the flood pool). Inflows into Kerr are averaging 35,000 cfs from the storm over the last 7 days (peak hourly inflow close to 90,000 cfs). So there were inflows into Kerr that would support the maximum flood release of 35,000 cfs allowed under our revised flood operations (QRR) or Quasi-Run-of-River.  However, in consideration of the recent rain and flooding along the lower Roanoke (2 significant events in 2 1/2 weeks), The Corps did not raise declared releases from Kerr during the past two weeks, but has now made significant release increases to bring the lake level back close to the normal or guide curve.

“We supported the Corps using Kerr Lake for one of its main intents, that of flood control,” said Public Affairs Lead for Kerr Lake Park Watch, Frank Timberlake, adding, “Those people downstream in North Carolina did not need more water until their flood waters subsided to a good degree.  We think the Corps used best management practices to their best on this pretty horrific weather event.”

Timberlake added, “We at Kerr Lake Park Watch want to remind people, especially boaters that with high water often there comes what we call floaters in the water, trees and debris.  All lake visitors returning to Kerr should have a watchful eye on the water for such.”

Kerr Lake is expected to be fully recovered by this coming weekend.

 

Posted in: KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - WATER RELATED, KLPW - Water Safety

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KERR LAKE NC STATE RECREATION AREA SUPERINTENDENT’S WIFE PASSES

The leadership, members and friends of Kerr Lake Park Watch wish to express our heartfelt sympathies to Bryce Fleming and to all his family in the loss of his wife, Lori Fleming within the past few days. Bryce is the Superintendent of Kerr Lake State Recreation Areas.

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, July 5, 2016 at 2 pm at First United Methodist Church in Henderson, conducted by Pastor Terry Huffines.  The family will receive friends at a reception in the fellowship hall immediately following the service.

In addition to her parents, Lori Fleming is survived by her husband, Bryce P. Fleming and her son, Tyler of the home; her sister, Lola M Giese (Charlie) of Fort Wayne Indiana and their children Bradley, Carlie and Luke; Her mother and father-in-law, Roxanne and Bob Fleming; and brother-in-law, Greg Fleming (Anne).

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:

  • The Nature Conservancy-TNC – NC Chapter, 334 Blackwell St. Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701;
  • American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org/donate‎;
  • or Vance Aquatics Club, www.vanceaquatics.net (click “Donate Now” tab) or by mail PO Box 2051, Henderson, NC 27536 for the Lori Fleming Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Complete details may be found on the J. M. White Funeral Home website, www.jmwhitefuneralhome.com.

Posted in: KLPW - MAIN NEWS, KLPW - N C State Recreation Areas

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VOLUNTEER DAY FOR HIBERNIA MAY 21HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO THE WEATHER FORECAST

The headquarters for Kerr Lake State Recreation Areas at Satterwhite Point has announced a Volunteer Day at Hibernia on Saturday, May 21st.  “We know it’s a little late and short notice, but there are a lot of mitigating circumstances with staff moves and some maintenance projects,” said Assistant Superintendent Lee Amos, “But we are hoping that members of Kerr Lake Park Watch and the general public will turn out for a while to help and that the weather will cooperate.”

Projects on tap for this year’s Volunteer Day include putting up some signs on some trails, recently refurbished by the maintenance and park personnel.  Several display cases that will house, for educational and informational purposes, both historical and environmental items and info have been built along some of Hibernia’s trails.

Park staff also hopes to work on the Hargrove family cemetery in which is buried the original owner and builder of Hibernia.  The cemetery needs some attention along with metal fence painting.  Real go-getters can bring limb trimming equipment and help push back limbs from campsites.  Last year’s successful Volunteer Day prompted a video about how a few can do much:  KLPW 2015 VOL DAY at HIBERNIA

Volunteers are badly needed, particularly with a short invite window.  Volunteers are asked to be at the picnic shelter between Area 2 and Area 3 on the main park road at 9:00 AM, Saturday, May 21.  For more information, contact the park office at (252) 438-7791.

Posted in: KLPW - Campground Facilities and Improvements, KLPW - Environmental, KLPW - N C State Recreation Areas, KLPW - Park Entertainment/Events

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