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Recreation facility information available online

People FishingIn-depth information on recreation facilities at many TVA-managed reservoirs is now just a mouse-click away.

Beginning this month, visitors to TVA’s web site can access a wide range of facts pertaining to recreational facilities at 17 reservoirs, and information about other reservoirs will be added in the future.

Which reservoir locations feature swimming beaches? Which boat ramps are paved? Which campgrounds have sites with water and electric hookups? At a glance, visitors to the site will be able to find answers to all these questions and many more, according to TVA Recreation Manager Jerry Fouse.

“This information is being pulled together from the results of TVA’s new inventory of reservoir recreation facilities — a comprehensive effort to document public and commercial recreation facilities,” says Fouse.

The new inventory, which will be conducted on a three-year rotational basis, will track the characteristics and features of each facility in detail: everything from the river-mile location of a campground to the number of marina slips to the names and phone numbers of boat dock managers.

“When this inventory is complete, we’re going to know more than we ever have before about the recreation facilities available around TVA’s reservoirs,” says Fouse.

The new site also will include links to state web sites where recreation users can find additional information about tourism, fish and wildlife, and state parks.

Fouse is a big believer in the value of what he refers to as recreational “assets,” namely the natural resources (as well as the facilities that have been developed on them) that provide relaxation and enjoyment for the citizens of the Tennessee Valley. “We’re charged with managing those resources,” he explains, “and we can manage more effectively when we look at the big picture of exactly what’s out there, not only the properties we manage for the public’s benefit, but all the recreation facilities located along Valley reservoirs.”

photo of dock

TVA, in partnership with Calloway County Fiscal Court and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources Agency, has constructed two new courtesy docks on Kentucky Reservoir, including this dock at White’s Beach at Pacer Point. Courtesy docks help reduce boat damage and allow boaters to board their boats safely after launching.

Fouse feels the results will be extremely valuable in determining where gaps exist — areas where there are currently no facilities (or inadequate ones) available to the recreating public for engaging in a specific activity.

“You might think of the inventory as the ‘supply’ side,” he says. “We will be using projected population figures and recreation participation rates to calculate the ‘demand’ side. The difference between the two will directly impact future investment in recreation facilities. For example, let’s say that inventory results tell us there’s a real need for an enhanced group campground in a given location. We would share that information with our partners — state conservation agencies, state park systems, etc. — and ask them if their data backs this up. If they are in agreement there’s an unmet need, we would explore the idea of perhaps cost-sharing on a project to develop a public facility.”

When determining the feasibility of any new proposed TVA facility, Fouse says a wide range of factors is taken into account: “We look at recreational activities that have high participation rates — walking and hiking come to mind immediately. Locations with land-water interfaces such as boat access areas and fishing piers traditionally see a lot of use. We’ll evaluate the operating and maintenance costs of any proposed facility. If we construct TVA recreational facilities on TVA public lands, then we know going in that we’re in it for the long haul. We’ll also give precedence to locations and project proposals where we have willing partners.”

But the inventory has implications far beyond TVA’s budgeting process. “We’re particularly excited about making these inventory results useful for the public,” says Fouse. “Our goal is to make sure that the new recreation facility web site is user-friendly and interactive. I think there’ll be a great response to it from the public, and Valley states will also be using this information for their recreational planning. All in all, it’s going to be a terrific tool with a wide range of applications.”

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