Hidden Harbor Marina Relocating to Holmes Creek Recreation Area on Center Hill Lake

February 9, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Nashville District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved plans for the relocation of Hidden Harbor Marina from its present location at the head of Holmes Creek to Holmes Creek Recreation Area, which is located approximately one mile downstream of the current marina site.

The marina is relocating primarily due to challenges at their existing site, such as shallow water depths, limited or no vehicular access to the area during periods of high lake levels, and site limitations to modernizing the facilities to accommodate modern recreational vessels and equipment.

Various other options were considered, but they were either cost-prohibitive or not environmentally feasible.

The campground and picnic area at Holmes Creek Recreation Area was closed by the Corps under the Recreation Excellence at Army Lakes (REAL) program in 2003. The intent of the REAL program was to transfer the management of some recreation areas to other agencies or concessionaires, while other areas were closed to prevent valuable resources from being expended at little-used areas. In 2004, the area was made available for lease. However, no viable proposals were received.

This relocation is considered to be in the best interest of the Corps, the marina, and the general public. Although the full relocation process will require approximately one year to complete, the public will soon begin seeing the benefits of this relocation. The marina management plans to reopen about 15 campsites with water and electrical hookups for public use later this spring. They are also planning to have at least one boat launching ramp available to the public for a $5.00 launching fee. Relocation of the floating facilities, including the dock store and the moorage slips, to the new site is not scheduled to take place until after the summer recreation season is over. In future years, the marina may also reopen more campsites and provide cabins or other lodging facilities for public use.

Center Hill Lake, which is located near Smithville, Tennessee, is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Primarily due to the outstanding environmental quality and aesthetics of Center Hill Lake and the pristine forested shoreline, the lake and the surrounding public property are well known to a diverse group of outdoor recreationists and attract more than three million visitors annually from Tennessee and surrounding states. The 18,220-acre lake and the 415 miles of beautiful forested shoreline adjacent to the approximately 20,000 acres of public lands draw those visitors and prompt them to add more than $94 million to the local economy as they pursue outdoor recreational activities, such as wildlife viewing and photography, boating, fishing, camping, picnicking, swimming, hiking, or just simply sight-seeing. Recreational facilities and opportunities for the recreating public are provided on Center Hill Lake by the Corps, by concessionaires, such as commercial marinas, and by numerous other state and local agencies, such as the Tennessee State Parks and the surrounding county governments.

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