The heart of Lake Cumberland


April 7, 2017   LANE REPORT

Lake Cumberland Tourism at Full Pool

Region expects another high water mark for visitor numbers and spending in 2017

By Kathie Stamps

Lake Cumberland region tourism sector members say increasing annual business since 2009
has been growing exponentially the past few years.

Stress relief is big business in south-central Kentucky, thanks to hiking, horseback riding, golfing, swimming and other outdoor activities – especially boating – in and around 160,000-acre Lake Cumberland.

The massive water and recreation resource is owned and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District, which conducted a $600 million repair on 256-foot-tall Wolf Creek Dam from 2007 through 2013, when water levels were kept some 40 feet below normal.

Back at its usual 710-foot summer pool, bustling Lake Cumberland offers residents and tourists year-round entertainment and getaways plus seasonal festivals and events during the warmer months.

The Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism has nine named regions across the commonwealth, and Lake Cumberland is hub of the “Southern Shorelines” region, an area comprising 10 counties, five of which surround the lake: Clinton, McCreary, Pulaski, Russell and Wayne.

“We’re white hot. Somerset is doing quite well these days,” said Bobby Clue, executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski Chamber of Commerce. “We’ve been growing exponentially over the last five and a half years. Lake Cumberland is paramount to the success of our community down here. We are a very steady community (year-round) and in the summer I defy anyone to find a place with a more robust economy than Pulaski County.”

A low tax rate and friendly business and social environment contribute to a desirable area for people to live and retire, according to Clue. Many businesses in the county have connections to tourism and Lake Cumberland, “a lot of people do generate a good percentage of their revenues attached to tourism in one shape, fashion or form,” he said. “Tourism breeds tourism.”

Many tourists have come back to live in Monticello after retirement, contributing again to the local economy, said Charles Peters, a former city councilman and retired postmaster who is the volunteer president of the Monticello-Wayne County Chamber of Commerce.

Tourist stays crest again in 2017?

Wayne County has seen an increase in tourism expenditures each year since 2008. “That includes the time that the dam was being worked on,” Peters said. “Lake Cumberland has an impact on employment, occupational taxes and insurance fees generated from boat owners. Others benefiting are gas stations, restaurants, grocery and supply stores, boat storage units, boat repair businesses, and contractors performing various maintenance needs on boats and houseboats.”

A business surge is being felt across the Southern Shorelines region.

“Tourism around Lake Cumberland, specifically Jamestown and Russell Springs, is fantastic and definitely up from previous years,” said Janette Marson, director of tourism for the Lake Cumberland Tourist Commission. “We have more people staying in Russell County this year than since we began tracking it in 1985.”

The six-year drawdown “affected the whole region,” said Layne Wilson, district manager for Safe Harbor Marinas, which operates three major marinas as well as a hotel, restaurant and bar, and rents cabins, houseboats, pontoon boats and personal watercraft. “We weathered the storm.”

Lake Cumberland State Resort Park recently renovated all the lodge rooms and cabins. Lure Lodge Restaurant got a complete makeover and more recently so did its miniature golf course.

“The economic impact of our very popular Kentucky State Park is huge for our county,” Marson said.

There are four major commercial marinas in Russell County, including Lake Cumberland State Dock, with a fifth in the works.

“We are especially proud to note that there are more rental houseboats here in Russell County, Ky., than anywhere else in the nation and we just keep growing,” Marson said. “The waters have been up for three or four years now; that’s not even an issue. It was a PR nightmare, though, as people had the impression there was not enough water, and that was not the case.”

Near the water, amenities are on the rise also.

“This year, we will have a white sand beach for our visitors to enjoy,” said Carolyn Mounce, now in her 12th year as executive director of the Somerset-Pulaski County CVB. In response to many visitor requests, a Pulaski County Chamber Leadership class took on creating the beach as a special project.

Lake Cumberland is the main draw for visitors, Mounce said, but “we have loads of other things for our visitors to do,” she said, citing events such as the Crappie USA and FLW Bass tournaments, both in April, the annual Master Musicians Festival in July, and Somernites Cruise, a monthly car cruise and block party held April through October.

Still the houseboat capital

“At the boat and travel shows we attended in January and February, people were buying boats at the shows, people were buying campers,” Mounce said. “They wanted to talk about what’s happening in and around Lake Cumberland. I believe this summer will be another banner year and better than last year. And last year we were thrilled.”

Somerset native Chris Girdler, whose grandfather, Jim Sharpe, is credited with building the industry’s first houseboat in 1953, spearheaded recognition for the region when he served in the state Senate from 2012 to 2016.

In 2014, Gov. Steve Beshear signed a resolution designating Kentucky the Houseboat Capital of the World, and in 2016, Gov. Matt Bevin renamed the U.S. 90 bridge across the lake connecting Wayne and Pulaski counties as the Houseboat Capital of the World Bridge.

Girdler worked in his family’s Sharpe Houseboats business before his political career and in March 2017 became executive vice president at Trifecta Houseboats, which formed in 2014 when Stardust Cruisers, Sumerset Houseboats and Thoroughbred Houseboats merged. The three custom houseboat brand identities remain, but all are now manufactured in one facility in Monticello.

While a state senator, Girdler championed another tourism-related issue: pushing back the school year start date.

“I anticipate the governor signing this legislation into law soon,” he said in late March. “This will be a tremendous step in the right direction for tourism and our overall economy in Kentucky, as the early August school dates were costing us 6,000 jobs, $27 million in lost tax revenue and over $432 million in economic activity.”

The region’s custom houseboat construction sector “suffered tremendously during the latest economic recession, where we saw the cost of raw materials continuing to climb while the demand for the houseboats declined dramatically,” Girdler said. “We envision many better years ahead. The amount of interest and the uptick in our production and sales has grown a lot in the last year and most recently began to really increase.”

Lake Cumberland by the numbers

  • $224,767,324 tourism expenditures*
  • 6,560 tourism industry employment*
  • 63,000 surface acres of the lake
  • 1,255 miles of meandering shoreline
  • 101 miles, length of Lake Cumberland
  • 9 commercial marinas
  • 9 golf courses
  • 2 state parks

* For the five counties surrounding Lake Cumberland

Source: 2015 Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet economic impact study ?

Kathie Stamps is a correspondent for The Lane Report. She can be reached at


Tourism Means A Lot To Kentucky!

Tourism Means A Lot To Kentucky. 13.7 Billion To Be Exact.

Rolling hills and the lush countryside of horse farms. Majestic mountains reaching high into the eastern sky. Endless miles of pristine waterways. Smells of bourbon mash on a crisp fall morning.

These sights and smells are the hallmarks of our Kentucky landscape. Bourbon, horses, outdoors, Bluegrass music and delicious foods are embedded in the fabric of the state and its residents. Kentuckians love all things that are quintessential Kentucky … and so do visitors to the commonwealth.

In 2015, 24.6 million visitors came to Kentucky – up almost 3 million visitors from the year before. These millions of visitors not only traveled to the state, but spent money here as well.

The economic impact of the Kentucky tourism industry in 2015 was $13.7 billion dollars. This $13.7 billion makes the tourism industry the 3rd largest generator of revenue in Kentucky behind the automobile and healthcare industries. What does that mean for the citizens of Kentucky?

Tourism generated over $1.43 billion in tax revenues. Monies brought in from visitor spending saved each Kentucky household an average of $1,200.

Tourism supported 186,204 jobs.

$3.1 billion in wages were paid to Kentucky workers through tourism.

Every Kentuckian wins when the Kentucky tourism industry thrives.

More than the financial impact, the tourism industry enhances the quality of life for all Kentuckians. The natural beauty of our state provides an outlet for recreation and leisure. There is a beautiful vista around every corner in Kentucky. Great places to hike, bike, watch a sunset or take your family on a boat ride during the hot summer months. These activities are also the types of assets that companies look for when moving to or expanding their operations in Kentucky. Employers want happy employees and want to be located in an area that has natural or developed tourism assets so that employees can take advantage of those opportunities when they’re off the clock. A vibrant tourism economy means quality lodging, restaurants, shops and a never-ending list of things to do right in their own backyards. Tourism is a must-have tool in the tool box for any community that wants to grow and have a positive economic impact for its citizens.

When the vacation days are over and visitors are packing their bags to head home, the Kentucky tourism industry is leaving a lasting, positive impression. Kentucky hospitality is unparalleled, its beauty in a league of its own with its people as its greatest champion. The memories visitors create while in the commonwealth will be cherished their entire lives. When they speak of Kentucky to their friends and families, they are doing so with an affection that entices everyone to make a trip of their own.

All of these reasons show why it’s clear that tourism works for Kentucky.


From: The Lane Report’s Faster Lane

Where the News is made by The Readers

January 16, 2017


The Mill Springs Battlefield Association will hold its Annual Remembrance Ceremony of the Battle of Mill Springs at Zollicoffer Park in Nancy, Kentucky on Saturday, January 21, 2017 at 1 pm. The program will feature a flag ceremony, wreath laying, cannon salute, and guest speaker Dr. Michael Goleman, Assistant Professor of History at Somerset Community College. This year will be the 155th Anniversary of the battle which was fought on January 19, 1862. The program and observance is free and open to the public. All are invited to join in a small unveiling of an exhibit piece at the Museum and for light warming refreshments following the Remembrance Ceremony. The Museum will be FREE to the public to commemorate the anniversary.

On the 155th Anniversary of the Battle of Mill Springs, we are commemorating this historic moment and honoring not only those who perished in the conflict but those within our community that were deeply affected by the battle. The outcome of this battle notably changed the course of the Civil War and impacted our nation’s history. The battlefield is established as a National Historic Landmark and a treasured part of our communities in Pulaski and Wayne Counties. Thousands of visitors tour the battlefield annually.

For more information, please call 606.636.4045 or email



December 16th, 17th & 18th

Flashback Theater Presents “Every Christmas Story Ever Told” – Carnegie Community Arts Center, 107 N. Main St. Somerset, KY, 16th & 17th performances at 7:30pm and the 18th is at 2pm. Info  or 888-394-3282.

December 17th

Children’s Breakfast with Santa – Pulaski County Public Library, 304 E. Main St. Downtown Somerset, 9:30am-11:30am. Info 606-679-840.

December 17th, 18th

 The Nutcracker Ballet – Center for Rural Development, 2292 S. Hwy 27, Somerset, KY, 17th-7pm and 18th-2:30pm. Info, or 606-677-6000.

December 22nd, 23rd

Flashback Theater Presents “Every Christmas Story Ever Told” – Carnegie Community Arts Center, 107 N. Main St. Somerset, KY, all performances at 7:30pm. Info or 888-394-3282.

December 27th,  28th & 29th

2016 Lake Cumberland Holiday Hoops Classic Boys/Girls Basketball Tournament – Somerset, KY Southwestern High School, Somerset High School, Pulaski County High School gymnasiums Somerset, KY. Call 606-678-4484 or email for additional info.


Visit for more information.

Wayne County’s 2nd Annual Fall Fest is October 29th at Memorial Park

Live music, a motorcycle and car show, a pet costume contest, Kid Zone and much more will highlight Fall Fest 2016, set for Saturday, October 29 at Memorial Park.

Things will get underway that morning with the Monticello Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, set to start at 7 a.m. in the large shelter house. They will be serving until 10 a.m.

Registration for the Motorcycle Show will begin at 9 a.m., and judging is set for 11 a.m. The Fall Fest Car Show will begin with registration at 9 a.m. Judging will be at 12 noon.

Anyone who needs more information on the motorcycle or car show may call (606) 340-7691.

Vendors will be set up throughout the day, selling arts and crafts, festival foods and other items. There will also be a Kid Zone set up with free inflatables.

Free live music will be performed throughout the day. It will begin with the Fall Creek Boys at 10 a.m. The schedule also includes: The Waynetonians, 11 a.m.; Destiny, 12 noon; Second Life Band, 1 p.m.; Clint Edwards, 2 p.m.; and Chelsea Neal, 3 p.m.

Everyone is invited to come out and enjoy the day. There is no admission charge.

Anyone who would like more information about setting up as a vendor should contact Rhonda at (606) 348-4241. General information is available by calling (606) 348-5719.

Be a part of Wayne County’s First Annual Scarecrow Trail

First Annual Scarecrow Trail Event is Planned

  • By MELODIE PHELPS News Editor
  • Sep 7, 2016

The Labor Day holiday is now behind us, and it is time to think about fall. And about scarecrows…that’s right scarecrows which will be a part of a new community event.

The First Annual Scarecrow Trail is a great opportunity to show community pride, while participating in a family-oriented event. It is sponsored by the Tis the Season Gift Shop, in partnership with Women in Ag and the Wayne County Extension Office, and this year’s theme is “Harvest Time in a Small Town.”

Kathie Weston-Denney, one of the owners of the new gift shop, which is located at the intersection of North Main Street and Highway 3106, noted the Scarecrow Trail is open for residents countywide. It is open to individuals, families, clubs, groups and businesses.

This is how it works:

Residents can create a fall scene with a traditional scarecrow as the focal point and incorporate this year’s theme. Use straw bales, corn shocks and other items, but the scarecrow must be the focal point.

Denney noted that the local Extension Office is compiling a list of resources, so that finding items to decorate with will be easier. Anyone can pick up a list, as they begin to plan their display.

Scarecrows should not be frightening. Monsters, gruesome, bloody or scary entries will be disqualified.

Each display must have an entry number, which will help with the selection of winners.

Friends and neighbors can come by the gift shop and pick up a map that indicates where all the scarecrows are along the “trail.” They can drive by the displays registered on the Scarecrow Trail and see the straw stuffed fellows, and decide which is their favorite.

A Viewer’s Choice Award will be presented, and awards will also be given in three other categories, which will be selected by a group of judges. These include: Group, Individual and Business.

The cost to enter is $10, and all proceeds will go to the Imagination Library, which puts books into the hands of Wayne County children from birth to five years old.

Registration is from September 16 through October 1, and the contest will be judged from October 10-16. Winners will be announced on October 16.

Fees may be paid at Tis the Season Gift Shop. Or for more details, call (606) 341-0511.


Lots to do Over Labor Day Weekend

In addition to the lake and watersport activities around Conley Bottom Resort, Beaver Creek Resort and Lake Cumberland there is plenty to do off the water.

2016 Quilt Show is set for Friday and Saturday September 2nd and 3rd.

Mark your calendar for Labor Day weekend and the 2016 Quilt Show of the Little Mountains, presented by the Contented Heart Quilt Guild of Monticello. This year’s show is set for Friday, September 2 and Saturday, September 3 at the ASPIRE Center. The show will be open to the public from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday. The annual show features beautiful quilts, from miniatures and wall hangings to bed size quilts that are displayed in nine categories. Ribbons and cash prizes will be awarded as part of the show. The “Spring Time in the Little Mountains” block contest display contains a variety of spring-themed blocks. Call 606-340-9362 or visit for information.

Heritage Festival is set for Saturday September 3rd.

The Wayne County Heritage Festival is set for Saturday, September 3 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at historic Mill Springs.  The festival is sponsored by the Wayne County Historical Society and the Mill Springs Battlefield Association.

Enjoy a day of heritage, history and fun. There will be animals, artists, musicians, tradesmen and craftsmen set up throughout the festival. Tours of the historic Brown-Lanier House will be available.  Visitors will also be able to see the gristmill in action, as corn will be ground at the mill. The mill will also be operated and Brown-Lanier House tours will continue on Sunday and Monday (Labor Day).

Anyone who would like to get an early start to the day can come by for the Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, which begins at 8 a.m. Call 606-343-0399 or visit for information.

Travis Harris & the West Coast Turnarounds Headline 3rd Thursday

Travis Harris & the West Coast Turnarounds will headline Third

Thursday on August 18 in downtown Monticello.

The concert marks the final one for the 2016 series, and three

different groups will take the stage Thursday night. Things get

underway at 5:30 p.m. with the Ritamay Project. At 6:30 p.m. Yavany

Pinto will perform.

Travis Harris and the West Coast Turnarounds will take the stage at

7:30 p.m. The group plays traditional country music. They “hold

steady to the roots of original country music” and write and perform

songs from the common man’s point of view.

The group lists influential artists like Waylon Jennings, Jr.

Wilkes and the Dirt Daubers, Sturgill Simpson and Fifth on the Floor.

They have two CDs available, including Honky Tonks and High Water and

The Truth and Other Lies.

The evening also features a car and bike show in the downtown area.

The square area will close to through traffic on Thursday afternoon

and will remain closed throughout the event. There will be a variety

of food and craft vendors set up downtown.

All concert events this season have drawn large crowds to the

downtown area and organizers expect another great evening  for Third

Thursday. There is no admission charge for the event.

Everyone is invited to bring a chair, come downtown, and enjoy some

great music.

  • By MELODIE PHELPS News Editor, Wayne County Outlook, August 16, 2016

Third Thursday Concert Series Announced

Third Thursday concert series lineup has been announced.

Wayne County Fiscal Court have announced the schedule for the 2016 Third Thursday concert series in downtown


Returning favorites like Rapid Transit and Travis Harris and the West Coast Turnarounds will join with new headliners Elvie Shane and the group 7eventh Time Down to round out the schedule.

The concert series embraces many different music genres, and appeals to many audiences. Each evening, there will be two musical acts scheduled to perform. The downtown area will close to through traffic to allow vendors to set up around the square area.

The first concert is set for Thursday, May 19, and will feature Rapid Transit. Johnny and David Lyons will open for Rapid Transit. “Rapid Transit has been a local favorite for years and is a great group to kick off our 2016 Summer series,” said Monticello Mayor Jeffrey Edwards. “The addition of Johnny and David Lyons opening for them will bring even more local flavor for Third Thursday in May.”

This marks the fifth season for Third Thursday in Monticello, and the series continues to grow.  “Third Thursday has been well received by our community each year,” noted Edwards. “We have great acts lined up for this summer and look forward to another great year of entertainment and fellowship for our community in downtown Monticello.”

On June 16, Elvie Shane, who appeared on “American Idol” earlier this year, will take center stage. Clint Edwards will perform earlier in the evening.

On July 21, 7eventh Time Down, a Kentucky-based Christian rock band, will perform. Opening for them will be 2nd Life Band, which is a local group.

The concert series will conclude August 18, with a performance by Travis Harris and the West Coast Turnarounds. Opening for the group will be Yavany Pino.

On May 19, the music will begin at 6:30 p.m., with Rapid Transit slated to take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Concerts will begin a little later in June and July, with opening performances slated for 7 p.m. and the headliners scheduled to take the stage at 8 -p.m.  In August, after school is back in session, the concerts will shift back to the times set for May.

Downtown will close to through traffic at 6 p.m. each evening, which will allow vendors to set up. It will also allow participants in the classic car show and bike night events to arrive.

Edwards said that all food and craft vendors are welcome to participate in Third Thursday. Anyone who needs more information should call (606) 348-5719.

  • By MELODIE PHELPS News Editor, Wayne County Outlook
  • May 3, 2016

Lake Cumberland – KY’s #1 Most Enchanting Manmade Wonder

In a list that highlights 11 of Kentucky’s most enchanting manmade wonders, has selected Lake Cumberland No. 1.

“This beautiful 63,000 acre manmade lake has more than 1,200 miles of shoreline and is one of the 10 largest manmade lakes in the U.S.,” the author, Jenn Shockley, writes about Lake Cumberland.

Other landmarks selected in this list include the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge, Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley, the state’s dams, and Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption. Wolf Creek Dam ranked as #7. highlights the best in food, attractions and lifestyle in every state in America.

See the article here:

Wayne County


  • February 16, 2018Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show
  • February 24, 2018 9:00 amLake Cumberland Builder's 2018 Home Show
  • February 24, 2018 10:00 amSJWC Snow Shoe Shuffle 5K Run/Walk
  • February 25, 2018 1:00 pmLake Cumberland Builder's 2018 Home Show
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