The U.S. Forest Service-managed peninsula remains more closed than open almost four weeks since a Jan. 27 deluge of freezing rain burdened the landscape with a thick coat of ice, splintering limbs, felling entire trees, snapping utility poles and dragging down electrical lines throughout the region.
The conditions that darkened homes across western Kentucky likewise affected the LBL. Power went down. Roads were blocked by toppled limbs and trees, a situation made worse by more than 400 miles of backcounty gravel roads through woodlands.
Ice damages to trees, lost power and blockages from fallen wood were concentrated on the northern LBL, problems fading at about the Kentucky-Tennessee line, leaving the Forest Service with about 100,000 acres of significant damages.
“We’ve been setting priorities and taking things one at a time, cleaning up and reopening areas as we can,” said Kathryn Harper, a USFS spokesman for the LBL.
Power first was restored to the Golden Pond administrative and law enforcement offices. Electricity via line still remains out at the Golden Pond Visitor Center, a focal point of the recreation area for many.
LBL staffers over the weekend were providing power to the central visitors’ facility by generator, but at last report the supplementary power had been too little to adequately warm the center to receive visitors.
Harper said no other public facilities have reopened in the Kentucky sector.
One of the most popular visitor attractions, the drive-through Elk & Bison Prairie has reopened.
(For the rest of the story, see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.)