NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Jan. 11, 2020) – Avid boaters and outdoors enthusiasts stopped in at the Nashville Boat Show at the Music City Center in hopes of checking off their list of preseason to-dos, and preparing for the start of the fishing season with a little help from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers park rangers.
Park Ranger Samantha Bedard from Cheatham Lake said it is exciting to attend the Nashville Boat Show and it is always fun to meet and interact with people who live, boat and recreate at Corps lakes.
“This was a great opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to the public and specifically talk with people who live on the lakes or will most likely frequent a Corps lake this summer,” said Bedard. “We get asked just about any and everything you can think about and get to promote water safety, safe boating practices, and help educate the public about recreating at our area lakes,” she added.
Ray and Susan Johnson from Franklin, Tenn., stopped by the Corps booth to ask questions and get important information about Dale Hollow Lake before embarking on the water this recreation season.
“Our favorite lake is Dale Hollow,” said Susan Johnson. “We love the water, the history and the great campgrounds.”
Bedard said novice to the most experienced boaters asked questions ranging from how to go through a navigation lock, to what safety items are required onboard a vessel, to existing conditions on the local waterways, to shoreline management and how to obtain a dock permit.
Russell Sharpe from Nashville said he grew up fishing and swimming all around areas on J. Percy Priest Lake.
“I love J. Percy Priest Lake,” said Sharpe. “There’s things I never knew about the lake until I asked a park ranger and I love the lake because the fish are bigger and the water is cleaner.”
When the boat show opened 2 p.m. Jan. 9, Park Rangers Dave Funderburk and Jacob Albers, both from J. Percy Priest Lake, talked to show goers about water safety, life jackets, docks, and even their favorite fishing holes.
Funderburk said his goal was to advise people to learn how to properly wear and inflate a life jacket while they handed out free key chains, Frisbees, lake maps, and brochures.
“This type of boating event is right up our alley and allows us to work with other rangers from the district,” said Funderburk. “It also makes it easy for us to get the water safety message out to a wide range of people in a very short amount of time.”
More than 15,000 people visited the four-day boating event, which ran Jan. 9-12. There were a wide range of vendors, fishing gear, canoes, motorboats, pontoons, jet skis, kayaks and the “Geico” racing boat on display.
"We are always excited to see representation from the Corps of Engineers again at the Nashville boat show,” said show Spokesman Joey Monteleone. “We’ve got people from all over the place representing the Cumberland and Tennessee rivers and each one of those lakes are different in their own way.”
A constant stream of visitors stopped by the Corps’ booth from the first day until the last.
Mark and Faith Hancock from Nashville live on Cheatham Lake, and they stopped to chat with the park rangers about shoreline management and clearing trees.
“It’s great to meet our park rangers from Cheatham here and have the opportunity to ask questions or just get basic lake information,” Faith said. “I had a great conversation with a couple of rangers about shoreline management and thanked them for doing a great job.”
The Nashville District operates 10 lakes in the Cumberland River Basin, which includes recreation areas and 25 campgrounds. The district also provides collaborative water resource engineering solutions, world class public infrastructure management, and environmental stewardship for the Cumberland-Tennessee River Systems.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District’s park rangers serve the public at Cheatham Lake, Lake Barkley, Old Hickory Lake, J. Percy Priest Lake, Cordell Hull Lake, Center Hill Lake, Dale Hollow Lake, Lake Cumberland, Laurel River Lake and Martins Fork Lake.
(The public can get more water safety information at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/WaterSafety.aspx and local lake information at http://www.lrn.usace.army.mil/Locations/Lakes.aspx. The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.)