We have all heard it before; “respect the resource.” What does that actually mean? It means we must work together to maintain and improve what we have.
At Land Between the Lakes we place a tremendous focus on maintaining natural settings, scenic views, and healthy forests while balancing the needs of our diverse user groups. Activities like habitat management, environmental education, camping, and hiking might seem unrelated; yet each one has the potential to affect the other. By being responsible, it is possible for everyone to enjoy the land for years to come.
Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area serves as a great example of land use here. Riders navigate almost 100 miles of trails. Before active management began, riders cut their own trails and the resulting landscape resembled a moonscape. Today they enjoy a natural setting. We did add a rock garden, where drivers crawl over boulders and give their shocks a workout.
In March we received unusually large amounts of rain. The rain forced us to close Turkey Bay temporarily. We do this to protect the trails from erosion and degradation and keep the area green and beautiful.
Rain can also severely affect roads throughout Land Between the Lakes. It has caused washouts and dangerous erosion. We keep a watchful eye on road conditions as even a few cars driving through mud holes in gravel roads cause serious damage. It’s a challenge as we maintain over 450 miles of roads. We rely on our visitors to help us identify areas that need attention.
Over 1.5 million visitors use our paved, unimproved gravel or dirt roads. Previous residents of the area travel the roads and trails to reach remote cemeteries. Hikers, hunters and campers also use our back country roads. Purposely rutting roads hurts everyone.
We all must do our part to preserve what we have. If you see or hear that anyone has misused a part of Land Between the Lakes, remind them of what’s at stake.
Like you, we want to keep the national recreation area relevant and a first choice destination. Constantly repairing vandalism takes away from our ability to serve. Come outside and play, respect the resource.