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Barren River Lake State Resort Park

Barren River Lake State Resort Park - BEST Places to Picnic1149 State Park Road
Lucas, KY 42156-9709
Telephone: (270)-646-2151
Toll Free: (800) 325-0057

WELCOME to Barren River Lake State Resort Park

Barren River Lake State Resort Park is a 2,187 acre park located in Barren County, Kentucky and extending into parts of Allen County and Monroe County. 

Barren River Lake, its major feature, is an artificial lake created in 1964. It covers approximately 10,000 acres and has 140 miles of shoreline. The park was dedicated in 1965.

Attractions

Fishing is a major attraction at this park. The largest hybrid striped bass ever taken in Kentucky (20 lb., 8 oz.) was caught in Barren River Lake. The lake contains several other species of fish, including crappie, smallmouth bass, white bass, and big channel catfish.

The lake also includes a marina to support boating and water skiing. Numerous trails provide hiking and biking opportunities. The most popular hiking trail is the one-mile Lewis Hill Trail. Guided horseback rides are available seasonally. The park also features an eighteen-hole golf course.

Picnicking

3 shelters are available for rental, call 2425 for information. 31E picnic area features a shelter with restrooms, picnic tables and grills, playground and volleyball. Highland Field picnic area features numerous shelters, one equipped with restrooms, volleyball, playground and a walking track. Picnic area with grills also located at boat dock.

History

Vast forests did not cover all of Kentucky. In the south-central portion of the state an area of open grasslands known as the �Barrens� made a stark contrast to the heavily forested terrain surrounding it. The American Indians had repeatedly burned the forests that once covered the region as a means to stampede and kill big game. 

These fires created an open savannah that in turn drew all types of wild game to feed off its lush grasses. Buffalo herds migrated eastward across the Mississippi to Illinois, and then to Kentucky. These herds came to the Barrens and multiplied, providing food and clothing for the Indians.

The open lands of the Barrens also drew settlers who found the treeless areas easy to cultivate. Originally the pioneers thought the treeless grasslands infertile because of the lack of forestation. 

They soon found the soil to be some of the best that they had encountered. Farms and communities soon began to cover the area. In 1798 Barren County became the 37th county of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. 

Taken from parts of Green and Warren counties, Barren consisted of 1,500 square miles. Beginning in 1815, the county had 1,000 square miles taken away to create portions of Allen, Edmonson, Hart, Metcalfe, and Monroe Counties.

Although Barren County had a railroad, most of south-central Kentucky remained isolated. The need for development became a topic for most civic and government organizations. A dam on Barren River had economic potential in the promotion of tourism. By 1960, construction of a 146 foot-high dam began on the river. 

When completed the dam had created Barren River Lake. The lake covers 10,000 acres and has a shoreline of 141 miles. The Louisville Corps of Engineers designed and built the dam. They continue to maintain the lake.

A movement by the people of Barren County to establish a park next to the lake became a reality on January 1, 1965. The state purchased adjoining farms to extend the park site and the Louisville Corps of Engineers donated acreage to round out the parks boundaries. 

In 1966 the park constructed a boat dock with a marina. The Department of the Interior, Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, approved a total development project of $3,469,000. A federal grant of $1,734,500 funded fifty percent of the estimated cost.

In 1971 the Louie B. Nunn State Lodge opened. The lodge overlooks the beautiful 10,000-acre lake. Barren River Lake is located in some of Kentucky's most scenic countryside. 

On the first weekend in June the park hosts Glasgow Highland Games, a festival celebrating Scottish heritage. Thousands of people attend this popular event each year.

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