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Wills Creek Lake

Huntington District
Published Jan. 5, 2024
Wills Creek Dam

Wills Creek Dam

Reservations, Fees & Passes

There are no camping facilities available at Wills Creek Lake.


Wills Creek Lake was authorized by Section 4 of the Flood Control Act (FCA) of 1938, as amended by Section 4 of the FCA of 1939. Primary project purposes are flood damage reduction, recreation, and fish and wildlife.  The dam was completed in June 1936 and serves a drainage are of 724 square miles. Land includes 131 fee acres and 20,252 easement acres. The Corps operates two small day-use recreation areas. 

Wills Creek Dam is a flood reduction facility. It is operated as a "dry dam" which means it does not have a large lake behind it. The small lake is caused by a nine foot high concrete ogee control weir at the entrance to the intake structure which maintains an average lake level of 742.0 feet above sea level. Sea level is the average of all the seas in the world and is recognized as 0 feet elevation, that is how the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers measures the levels of water under its control. Under normal operations Wills Creek Lake is contained within the banks of the original Wills Creek. However, Wills Creek Lake is a flood reduction facility and when it is functioning for flood reduction it can store a mimimum of 196,000 acre feet of water within the 20,452 acre reservoir. Water is stored up to elevation 779.00 feet above sea level, the top edge of the Spillway is exactly 779.00 feet above sea level. If the flood water got above that elevation it would flow over the Spillway and would no longer be under control. The dam is 108 miles above the mouth of the Muskingum River at Marietta, Ohio, the dam site is one mile upstream of the town of Wills Creek, Ohio. The actual dam consists of the embankment, which is made of rolled earth fill with a central impervious core, it is 87 feet above the streambed, the top of it is at an elevation of 799.0 feet above sea level, the crest is 1950 feet long, with a top width of 30 feet. The outlet works, which is the place made to allow the water to go through the dam, is in the left abutment of the dam. It consists of an approach channel, the Intake Structure, twin arch tunnels through the dam, the stilling basin used to calm the water, and the outlet channel. The Intake Structure houses six caterpillar-type gates and one service gate, all used for flood-reduction operations. By operating these gates the level of the water above and below the dam is controlled. There are no Public Restrooms available at Wills Creek Dam.

Handicap Access
The is a Universally Accessible Fishing Access that opened in mid September 2004 below the dam.  It consists of a lighted, a paved parking site and path that leads to the concrete fishing access platform. The entrance to the area is near the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers office. There are no Universally Accessible Bathroom Facilities provided at Wills Creek Lake.

Historical Information
Wills Creek Lake, was authorized for flood control and allied purposes by the official plan for the Muskingum reservoir system prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and approved on November 19, 1934 by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.   Construction on the Wills Creek Dam project began February 25, 1935 and closure of the dam was accomplished on June 14, 1936.  The project construction was completed October 13, 1937.

The Flood Control Act of 1939 contained a provision that the Muskingum River Basin dams and reservoirs, then owned by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, be included in the comprehensive flood control plan for the Ohio River Basin.  Since that date the operation and maintenance of Wills Creek Dam and the rest of the Muskingum reservoir system has been the responsibility of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Recreation Opportunities

Visitor Center
There is no visitor center at this project. Contact the Wills Creek Dam Project Office at (740) 829-2425 if you or your group are interested in a tour of the dam and flood control facilities.

Boating
Wills Creek Lake has a 10 horse power limit. The public launch ramp is located on State Route 83 and is operated by MWCD. For more information you can call MWCD at (330) 343-6647 or visit their website at mwcd.org.

Camping
There are no camping facilities available at Wills Creek Lake.

Day-use
There is a picnic pavilion and restroom and a handicapped accessible picnic table in the below dam fishing access area.

Fishing
Fishing is a very popular activity around Wills Creek Dam.   Adding to the enjoyment is a new universally accessible fishing area below the dam that was completed in 2004.  This functional and attractive area includes a concrete fishing platform, that extends out over the river, a lighted parking lot and picnic table. It was built in late 2004 with co-operation between Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources, Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District, the Coshocton Co. Sportsmens Association and the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers.   To get to this new area follow the signs, the road goes passed the office for the dam. Please look at the photos that are included in this web page to get a good look at this wonderful addition to Wills Creek's attractions.  Fishing has been popular in the reservoir behind Wills Creek Dam for a long time.  There is a 10 hp limit on the reservoir.  The public launch ramp is located on SR 83 and is operated by Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District.  For more information call MWCD at (330) 343-6647 or visit their web site at mwcd.org

Hunting
Public hunting is available on the land managed by USACE and MWCD in the reservoir, except around buildings and recreation areas, in compliance with all state and federal laws.  Maps for the public hunting and fishing areas can be obtained from the following: Wills Creek General Store @ (740) 829-2609, or MWCD @ (330) 343-6647 or visit their website at mwcd.org.

Marinas
The marina at Wills Creek Lake is located on SR 83 and is operated by MWCD. There is a concrete ramp and parking area.

Swimming
There are no designated swimming areas available at this project.

Trails
Bicycles are permitted on all county roads, but no bicycle trails are available on project lands.
There are no designated hiking trails at this project.
Horseback riding is available near Wills Creek Dam.  The Trail Head, located on AEP property on Co. Rd. 429, 2 miles off Route 83 S. The trails go over AEP, MWCD and USACE lands. 


Rules & Regulations

General Policies
A full list of Federal regulations that apply to all US Army Corps of Engineers properties can be found in Title 36 of the United States Code (USC). Title 36, The Rules and Regulations that Govern Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects.

Firearms
Possession of firearms in a federal facility, including locks, dams, power plants, ranger stations, buildings, switchyards, recreation facilities, warehouses, and offices is strictly prohibited. This prohibition includes the storage or transporting of a personally owned firearm in controlled access parking areas or Government vehicles, heavy equipment, boats and vessels under the operational control of the District regardless of its location. Exceptions for Federal employees are only allowed for Federal law enforcement officers or where possession of a firearm is specifically authorized by law.

Fireworks
Fireworks, along with explosives, firearms and other weapons are prohibited on Government Property. Detailed information can be found in Title 36, The Rules and Regulations that Govern Corps of Engineers Water Resource Projects, Section 327.13.


Contact
Wills Creek Lake 
49320 County Road 497 
Coshocton, OH 43812

pa2@usace.army.mil
740-829-2425