CELINA, Tenn. (Nov. 15, 2023) – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District announces that reservations for the upcoming Eagle Watch Tours at Dale Hollow Lake are being accepted at https://www.recreation.gov/ticket/facility/10101848.
The Eagle Watch tours are the third and fourth Saturdays in January 2024. A barge picks up watchers with reservations 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at Lillydale Campground and 10 a.m. at Dale Hollow Resort State Park.
Each tour accommodates 50 eagle watchers, and each person is limited to reserving five spaces. The Friends of Dale Hollow Lake, Dale Hollow’s non-profit cooperating association, is providing complementary hot drinks. There is a $1 per reservation fee that offsets the cost of using the reservation platform and is not refundable.
“This is the first year that we are utilizing the same reservation platform used for camping reservations,” said Park Ranger Sondra Carmen. “This will allow those wanting space on the tours to make or adjust reservations at any time during the reservation period. It will also give our staff a current list so we can accurately expect who will be attending that day. We are excited to be one of the first Corps lakes to utilize this function for making reservations for special events.”
Crystal Tingle, Dale Hollow Lake resource manager, said the lake is home to the second largest population of wintering bald eagles in Tennessee and Kentucky. The eagle tours are during the coldest part of the year, but is the best time to view these majestic birds in their natural habitat. “Most eagles on Dale Hollow Lake over-winter at the lake for its abundant food sources,” Tingle explained.
Attendees should arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in. Tours can last up to three hours, so participants are encouraged to dress warmly and in layers for the weather. Life jackets are required and limited, so bring your own if possible. Eagle watchers can bring a thermos, snacks, blanket, camera, and binoculars to make the exploration more enjoyable. Participation by small children is not advised, unless parents use extreme caution and oversight. The barge tour does not meet ADA standards; however, those with mobility needs have been able to participate based on the individual’s abilities.
Eagle Watch tours have been ongoing since the 1990s. From 1987 to 1991 a total of 44 eagles were transplanted from nests in Alaska, Minnesota and Wisconsin and then reared, tagged and released on the shoreline of Dale Hollow Lake near Irons Creek as part of an effort to restore the American Bald Eagle to the region.
The team utilized a technique called “Hacking” to care for then release the birds of prey in hopes they would someday return to the vicinity of where they first took flight to nest and reproduce. Today, the American Bald Eagle nests at Dale Hollow Lake and surrounding waterways and can be seen flying overhead all year.
For additional information, please contact the Dale Hollow Lake Resource Management Office at (931) 243-3136. 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 www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can also follow Dale Hollow Lake on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dalehollowlake. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest Nashville District employment and contracting opportunities at https://www.linkedin.com/company/u-s-army-corps-of-engineers-nashville-district.