A girl kayaking on Rough River Lake in Falls of Rough, Kentucky.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is one of the nation's leading federal providers of outdoor recreation with more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states. Visitors of all ages can enjoy traditional activities like hiking, boating, fishing, camping and hunting, and for those slightly more adventurous there is snorkeling, windsurfing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking and geo-caching.  Regardless of your favorite outdoor activity one thing is certain, recreation enriches people's lives.  A visit to an Army Corps of Engineers' recreation area can strengthen family ties and friendships; create unforgettable memories and connect people to nature that will last a lifetime.

With 90 percent of our recreation areas located within 50 miles of a major metropolitan center, there is a Corps site near you. We invite you to visit us!

Reservations for all USACE operated sites are available through the National Recreation Reservation Service (NRRS) at their web site www.recreation.gov or by calling toll-free at: 1-877-444-6777.

Passes, Programs and Resources

Beginning Jan.1, 2016, the recreation day use fees charged for boat launches & swimming beaches managed by USACE changed to a simpler fee structure. The fee for a USACE annual pass to these facilities also changed.

The day use fee schedule is as follows:

* Minimum day use fee of $5.00 will be charged per private non-commercial vehicle.

* Minimum day use fee of $2.00 per adult for walk-in or bike-in.

* Minimum day use fee of $20.00 will be charged per bus or commercial vehicle.

* Children under the age of 16 are not charged a day use fee. 

Payment of the day use fee entitles the user to launch a boat or use any developed swimming beach at a USACE operated-recreation area that day.

A USACE annual day use pass may be purchased for $40, which permits the holder & accompanying passengers the daily use of facilities managed by USACE for one calendar year. No duplicate passes will be sold but a person may purchase more than one Annual Pass at full price if desired.

Safety and Responsibility

Recreators should always exercise caution while boating, fishing, or swimming. It is mandatory at all lakes, everyone in a boat, no matter their age, must properly wear a life jacket if they are located in the discharge of a dam.  Other guidelines to follow to increase water safety is to not anchor to the dam, be aware of the generation schedule, realize the generation schedule is subject to change at any given time. With the efforts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, as well as everyone in the public, we can work together to make boating a more safe and enjoyable experience!

Knowing how to help yourself stay safe is an important step when heading out to a lake, pool, or other body of water; but knowing how to help others is equally as important. “Reach, Row, Throw, Don’t Go!” is a mnemonic tool to remember when dealing with a potential drowning situation. While each word has a specific meaning, the basic message is to encourage a rescuer to find any means of helping a person besides going in after the victim him or herself.

People who feel that they are drowning have an increase in adrenalin which enables them to become extremely powerful. Their fear turns into panic which can take the well-intentioned rescuer into the water with them. Rescuers should instead stay on the bank or in the boat and reach a stick, a paddle, or anything else that could be grabbed onto by the drowning victim. Tossing a life ring or throw bag to someone in the water is also a life-saving option.

Make sure everyone in your family learns to swim well Never leave a young child unattended near water Read and obey all rules and posted signs Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts Know how to prevent, recognize, and respond to emergencies
Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone Maintain constant supervision of children Swim only in areas designated for swimming Do not mix alcohol with swimming, diving or boating Have appropriate equipment, such as reaching or throwing equipment, a cell phone, life jackets and a first aid kit.
Set water safety rules for the whole family Wear a life jacket if you can’t swim or if you are just learning to swim Never dive or jump into waters Always wear a life jacket while riding on a boat Know your state’s laws governing boating and fishing


Boating in cold weather can be exhilarating, but it also puts you at risk of falling into dangerously cold waters. Even boating in warm weather can be dangerous if the water is much colder than the air. As a general rule, if your air and water temperatures added together equal less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, you should take the following steps:

Dress appropriately for the weather and other conditions. This includes layering your clothing and wearing a hat and neck cover to prevent unnecessary heat loss. Drink plenty of fluids and hot drinks (but not alcohol), and stay nourished with high energy food bars. Bring a change of clothes in a waterproof bag if you are going to be in or around water.

Wear a life jacket while you are on the water. Studies have shown that a combination of using the Heat Exchange Lessening Posture (H.E.L.P.) and a life jacket can increase a person’s survival rate considerably. Life jackets allow persons to keep still and adopt H.E.L.P. without being compelled to tread water or swim to stay afloat, which can reduce the survival time by 50%.

Hypothermia is called the killer of the unprepared. That is why it’s important you take the proper steps to reduce your risk the next time you plan on being in or around water.

Nearly all drowning fatalities at our lakes could have been prevented by wearing life jacket. It’s a fact – life jackets do save lives! But they are only effective if worn properly. This means:

Wear the right size!   A life jacket is too big if it can easily ride up when you lift your hands over your head. It’s too small if the inside label specifies a weight limit that you exceed.

Appropriate for the activity!   Different life jackets are made for different activities. Be sure to check the inside label to determine what activity a lifejacket is made to handle. For example, not all life jackets are appropriate for use on a personal watercraft or for skiing.

Keep life jackets in good condition!   Using a life jacket as a seat cushion on the boat is one sure way to reduce the life jacket’s buoyancy. Life jackets need to be in serviceable condition, with no torn threads, holes, or flotation missing.

Keep it buckled & zipped!   Wearing a life jacket haphazardly isn’t going to be nearly as effective in saving a life as one that’s worn in the manner it was intended. If a life jacket isn’t secured around the body, it could come off when you hit the water. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is helping keep kids and adults alike safe by participating in the Life Jacket Loaner Program. This program allows boaters and swimmers to borrow a child’s or adult life jacket for the day, at no charge! This program is made possible by the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water.

If you don’t have enough properly fitting children’s life jackets on board, simply visit the registration centers at our recreation areas and sign for a loaner infant, child, or youth jacket for the day or the weekend. When finished boating for the day, return the jackets to the same location. Don’t worry, adults - we have life jackets for your size, too!

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