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The Impact of COVID-19/Coronavirus on Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley and Land Between The Lakes

Let’s Stay Safe At Home

This is the nineteenth year of me telling people about Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley and Land Between The Lakes. We’ve had our share of challenges with the Asian carp situation and other issues. But I never imagined we would face a situation like the coronavirus. Who would have?

While I am writing this letter, I genuinely have a sick feeling in my stomach – because what I am about to say goes against everything I have done in my professional career.

It’s time to put your vacation plans on hold and stay safe at home for now.

Saving lives and keeping people healthy is more important right now than trying to encourage folks to travel to our incredible lakes. Yes, we are rural – and yes, we do not have the same kind of outbreak other parts of the nation are enduring.

But if we do not heed the calling of scientists and doctors who know far better than we do, the pandemic will spread to our area and we could see our family and friends suffer.

Several national parks have shut down, including the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone and others. Sevier County, Tenn. officials are pleading with people not to visit Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear has asked Kentuckians not to travel outside the state. One can conclude Governor Beshear would not want people traveling into Kentucky as well.

On March 31, President Donald Trump and his administration officials were projecting six-figure deaths in our country and has markedly changed their tone on this outbreak.

In light of all this, I believe it is in the best interest of everyone to postpone their trip to Kentucky Lake, Lake Barkley and Land Between The Lakes until this passes. I would ask that if you have reservations for this spring, don’t cancel them – simply reschedule them for this summer.

So many of our local folks are depending on your visit to the lakes this year. This crisis is particularly jeopardizing our local hospitality businesses. Rescheduling your trip, instead of canceling outright, is vitally important to us!

I believe our country will be in much better shape this summer (hopefully by Memorial Day) and everyone will be ready to get out and enjoy time with family and friends at the lake. Until then, let’s hunker down and do our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Shawn Dunnaway
President, Explore Kentucky Lake

What Is Open

Updated April 2, 2020 - 9:10 a.m.

  • Some marinas, resorts and lodging facilities in the Kentucky Lakes Area outside Land Between The Lakes remain open, although marina stores may be closed.
  • All boat ramps and access points on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley remain open at this time.
  • The popular Elk & Bison Prairie, Turkey Bay OHV Area, and Wranglers Day Use Trails in Land Between The Lakes are open along with most hiking and biking trails. Backcountry/dispersed camping and basic campgrounds are open. Scroll down for specific LBL impacts.
  • Some restaurants are open for take-out, although all dining rooms have been ordered closed by state officials.
  • Kentucky's rest stops are open, including Whitehaven in Paducah and the Christian County Welcome Center on Interstate 24 near the KY/TN border.

Kentucky Lakes Area COVID-19 Cases


Calloway County: 4
Marshall County: 3
Lyon County: 2
Livingston County: 0
Trigg County: 0


Benton County: 4
Humphreys County: 2
Houston County: 1
Henry County: 1
Stewart County: 0

Lake Barkley Impacts

With Lake Barkley managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), some closures or delays of seasonal openings are in effect.

  • Public access ramps on Lake Barkley are OPEN; however, day-use areas on Lake Barkley are closed, unless located within Land Between The Lakes.
  • Canal Campground, Eureka, Hurricane Creek and Bumpus Mills campgrounds - seasonal openings have been postponed until further notice.
  • The full press release from USACE is here.

Impact on Land Between The Lakes

  • Hematite Lake Day Use Area (including the trail) is closed
  • LBL Campgrounds Closed: Hillman Ferry, Energy Lake, Wranglers, Piney, and Colson Hollow Group Camp
  • Wrangler's Day Use (Horseback Riding Trails) remain open
  • The Elk & Bison Prairie is open
  • Turkey Bay OHV Area is open
  • Woodlands Nature Station is closed
  • Homeplace 1850s Working Farm is closed
  • North & South Welcome Centers are closed
  • The Golden Pond Welcome Center and Planetarium is closed
  • Moss Creek Day Use Area and Star Camp Day Use Area are closed
  • The Target Range on US 68 is closed

Restaurant Impacts

Restaurants are currently closed to inside dining, although some are opting for delivery, take-out or curb-side service.

  • Cindy's on the Barge at Kenlake Marina is closed.
  • The Thirsty Turtle at Green Turtle Bay is open for take-out orders, Wednesday through Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
  • The Pier Restaurant at Prizer Point is closed.
  • Parcel's Bakery & Deli in Draffenville is closed.
  • Ralph's Harborview Grill at Moors Resort is closed.
  • The Dutch Kitchen at Lynnhurst Family Resort is offering take-out Wednesday through Sunday, 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The phone number is 270-436-2345.
  • Cypress Springs Resort Restaurant is offering take-out Noon to 7:00 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The phone number is 270-436-5496.
  • Village Market & Cafe in Grand Rivers is featuring carry-out service with a full menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Orders can be placed by calling 270-362-8686.
  • Patti's 1880's Settlement and T. Lawson's Grill in Grand Rivers are closed.

Major Event Cancellations

  • Tater Day in Benton, Kentucky has been canceled this year.
  • The Grand Rivers Quilt Show has been canceled.

Business Closures

  • Kenlake Marina is offering basic services to slip customers, but otherwise most services are closed.
  • Moors Resort is closed.
  • Lakeside Campground on US 68 at Jonathan Creek is currently not accepting new reservations.
  • Patti's Inn & Suites and Rose of the Lake Bed & Breakfast are closed.
  • Prizer Point's campground, slip rentals, fuel, and propane refills are available. Delivery to campsites at Prizer of store items only. Lodging, public bathrooms, the store, boat rentals and and other on-site facilities are closed.
  • Sugar Creek Charters (fishing guide service) is not accepting clients at this time.
  • Brandon Hunter Fishing (fishing guide service) is not accepting clients in April and will reevaluate on May 1.
  • Crappie Gills 'n More (fishing guide service) is not accepting bookings in April.
  • Kick'n Bass Guide Service (fishing guide service) is not accepting fishing trips in April.
  • Big Kahuna Fishing Guide Service is not accepting fishing trips in April.
  • Lucky Lady Guide Service is not accepting fishing trips in April.
  • All indoor entertainment and recreational facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee are closed. These include theaters, bowling alleys, and spas among others.

State & Federal Resources