visit to Lake Jericho
lake was created in 1969 by
the formation of a watershed
SMITHFIELD, Ky. (August 2003) In Larry Ramseys
opinion, local residents have long overlooked the amenities of Henry
Countys Lake Jericho. One of the 137-acre lakes best features
is its relaxed, family atmosphere, he said.
aerial view of Lake Jericho.
Ramsey had worked at the lake five years before assuming
his full-time position as manager of the recreational area 18 years
ago. Many residents hold the old saying true that the grass is greener
on the other side, said Ramsey. People who have lived in the area all
of their lives may not realize that a valuable resource is right under
their noses at 1317 Lake Access Road in Smithfield, Ky.
The Lake Jericho Recreational Area opened to the public on July 25,
1969. Since then it has offered bank fishing, picnic areas with grills
and tables, two shelters with restrooms, and camping. There are 62 RV
sites with electric and water hookups, and a dump station and shower
Ramseys wife, Carolyn, helps in the day-to-day operation of the
lake. Ramsey said the facility has seen a lot of business from Louisville
in the last couple of years, but more locals are slowly becoming aware
of the opportunity right on their back doorstep. It has an atmosphere
very few places have.
It is the perfect outdoor setting for family reunions, company picnics
and church outings. Two shelters with restrooms can be reserved or are
available on a first come basis.
Many RVs remain at the lake year-round, their owners returning each
year to take advantage of the recreational area. Phil Shepard lived
at the lake for a time and still returns often because, Its
quiet and relaxing. Its a reality-check. Shepard can unwind
at the lake and take a break from the normal fast-paced environment
most people live in.
The eight-member Little Kentucky River Watershed Conservancy District
Board operates the recreational area. The lake originated as a
flood retarding structure, said Ramsey.
In the late 1950s, recurring flooding resulted in thousands of acres
of damaged cropland in Trimble and Henry counties. The Trimble and Henry
County Conservation Districts partnered with each countys Fiscal
Court and Soil Conservation Service (SCS) to develop a project that
would protect residents in the watershed from future damage.
A board of directors was formed from landowners within the watershed
area to oversee activities in the area. The board borrowed money and
designed and built the recreational area, said Ramsey.
A total of five flood-retarding structures were installed by the conservation
service throughout the watershed for a total cost of $1.7 million. Lake
Jericho is the largest of the five lakes and open year-round. The watershed
board, a sub-district of the local county conservation districts, supervises
Three Trimble County and five Henry County members comprise the Little
Kentucky River Watershed Conservancy District. Karen Bess Smith is one
Smith said the board is supportive of looking at the quality and overall
aspects in the watershed area. For the third year, the Kentucky Division
of Conservation has awarded a $7,500 environmental grant to use towards
watershed education. It will fund a variety of necessary factors involved
in water quality testing, such as gathering data and raising awareness
about the river in local schools and communities, and ongoing studies.
Ramsey said he grew up in the middle of this area. His enthusiasm
for working outdoors and his knowledge of the conditions surrounding
the lake and the watershed district enable him to effectively oversee
the lake. He is familiar with what it was and what is has become.
In addition to lots of bank fishing, Ramsey sells bait and rents 14-foot
Jon boats. There is no limit on boat size. Shepard said the lake is
well stocked with catfish and crappie, in addition to largemouth bass
To aid bank fishermen, a No Wake Speed is strictly enforced. Shepard
said, You dont see people on the lake at fast speeds. This
would break the serenity of the area.
Shepard said the lakes rates are comparable and even better than
what is charged at some of the bigger campgrounds. As a testimony to
the lakes popularity, Ramsey said the RV lot is packed all
of the time.
Lake Jericho opens at daylight and closes at dark. A daily admission
fee of $1.50 for ages 12 and older and $1 for children ages 6-11 is
charged. This fee is used in combination with camping and boating fees
to maintain and operate the facility.
For more information, contact Ramsey at (502) 743-5205 or
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