U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Besides national and state parks and county parks there are recreation areas and campgrounds run by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which are nice places to visit although I usually utilize their campgrounds. According to one website I visited, they’re one of the largest providers of outdoor recreation. I never would have thought that.
While it has army in the title and is under the Department of Defense it’s associated with public work projects such as dams, canals, and flood protection. If you’ve ever watched or read news where there is major flooding particularly on the Mississippi River, you’ve heard them mentioned. With over 35,000 employees they make one of the largest public engineering and construction management agencies in the world.
The USACE operates three sites in South Carolina. Overall there are about 2,500 recreation areas at 456 projects. Most of the projects are lakes where they’ve built hydroelectric dams
The three sites in South Carlina are: Lake Hartwell, Lake Russell, and Lake J. Strom Thurmond, all located along the South Carolina and Georgia border.
I haven’t been to Hartwell Lake yet, but have driven past it. It’s the northernmost lake located in Anderson, Oconee, and Pickens county. There’s plenty to do with nine campgrounds and fifteen major day use facilities that include swimming beaches and picnic grounds.
Further south on the Savannah River is Lake Richard B. Russell in Abbeville county. Calhoun State Park is located on it. The Corps only operates a fishing pier and an overlook of the dam site, which is pretty interesting. Construction of some sort was on going when I partook of the overlook.
A bit further south is J. Strom Thurmond Lake in McCormick County. Also known as Clarks Hill Reservoir, it’s the largest lake project by the Corps east of the Mississippi River. There are thirteen campground and five major day use areas run by them. Other agencies operate parks on the lake as well. There is a nice visitor center from which you have a good view of the lake. I just missed seeing a bald eagle by ten minutes. I almost wished the person hadn’t told me about it. But that’s life.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s