Last month my blog focused on the sustainable extraction of limestone. I wanted to make this month’s blog a little more fun and personal. So, we are going to talk about my favorite lakes in (and around) Kentucky. I know…I know…. it is officially fall. Why in the world am I blogging about lakes? Well, for one, you can always plan for next summer! Second, you can still enjoy our lakes in the fall and winter months. The cold weather should never stop you from enjoying what nature has to offer!
Let’s start with one close to home for me. A little over 15 miles from my hometown of Morehead, Ky is Cave Run Lake. It is located in Rowan, Morgan, Menifee, and Bath County. I grew up visiting, hiking, swimming, camping, and fishing here and continue to visit every chance I get. What I love most about Cave Run is, even on extremely busy days, you can always find peace and quiet. What else does the lake have to offer?
- Camp at Twin Knobs and Zilpo.
- Put your boat in at 12 different locations.
- Picnic all over.
- Swim at two managed swimming beaches: The Beach (located in Twin Knobs) and. Or, swim wherever you like! I suggest Windy Bay and Billy Branch.
- Try out your “lake legs” at Cave Run Marinas.
- Fish for Bass, Catfish, Bluegill, Walleye, etc. Musky fishing is very popular here!
- Eat at Pops BBQ
- Attend the annual Storytelling Festival the 29th and 30th of September…you still have time to make it this year!
I spent a weekend at Norris Lake with a group of friends a couple years ago. Since then, I have always wanted to plan another trip. Norris Lake is in Tennessee; located a little over an hour from Pineville, Ky. I choose to include it in this blog because, in my experience, the lake is relatively unknown and it is close enough to Ky. I fell in love with Norris Lake immediately due to its seclusion and small size. So, why Norris Lake?
- Over 20 Marinas!
- Camp at Norris Dam State Park Campground
- Water Skiing. I “attempted” it…. and failed.
- Fish for Bass, Crappie, and Walleye.
- Over 16 restaurants…many of which are at Marinas.
- And obviously, swimming and hiking trails.
Over this past summer, I had to the opportunity to spend a couple days at Cumberland Lake, located in the southeastern part of the commonwealth. However, this was the only time I have been there. So, my knowledge of Cumberland Lake is limited. The short time I was there, I really enjoyed what the lake had to offer.
- I remember thinking every person there, but me, was on a boat. There are boat rentals all over!
- Our lodging was through a local cabin company. There are many…many more.
- I suggest spending time on Cumberland River, as well.
- Do I even need to say this? Lodging, food, fishing, hiking, and swimming.
- If you’re a coffee drinker, try Baxter Coffee.
I think I see a pattern with my favorites. They are all relatively located on the eastern side of the state. Maybe I need to visit some lakes on the western side next year. Any suggestions?
What is your favorite lake? Let me know in the comments!
Let’s talk about Limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock and the leading stone extracted and processed in the United States. Out of all stone mining in the U.S., limestone accounts for roughly 42%. It is extremely functional, as it is primarily used in the construction industry. However, it has many uses!
You interact with limestone on a daily basis and you may not even know it.
- It is used to make the paper you just wasted after trying for the 100th time to operate the office copier.
- The plastic bag you used to carry a pack of gum out of Kroger.
- The glass jar of outdated pickles in the back of your refrigerator.
- The paint on your wall…and, if you did the paint job, possibly on your floor too.
- The carpet in your house that you keep forgetting to vacuum.
- The overly priced bottle of water you purchased at Speedway.
- The food in your 4 for 4 at Wendy’s.
Let us not forget the horses and mint juleps we like to watch/drink on Derby Day!
Have you ever wondered how we extract it? Probably not, so here we go. The majority is mined through a process called surface mining (some extraction is done through underground methods). Surface mining mines from the top down, not the bottom up. In respect to limestone, the process is referred to as quarrying. Quarrying involves the removal of earth and stone piece by piece with heavy machinery and small explosives. The end result is a large open pit (quarry). Once completed, the stone goes to a processing plant.
You may be thinking, “oh, yeah, that’s what those giant holes in the earth are called!”. Have you ever thought about the environmental impacts from “those giant holes in the earth”? Again, probably not.
If not conducted properly quarrying can have negative environmental impacts. These include:
- The removal of trees, vegetated areas, soil, and habitat loss required for many species to live.
- Contamination of local water sources.
- Acid mine drainage
- The use of large amounts of water.
- The creation of wastewater.
- Air and soil pollution from heavy machinery.
All pose negative health risks for humans, non-animal species, and nature.
In a previous blog I discussed the importance of conservation and preservation. Another crucial component is sustainability. Sustainability is a principle that seeks to maintain the balance for both future and present species/generations. If we are unable to find and maintain this balance, future generations will feel the impacts. Limestone extraction is not immune. Alongside practicing conservation and preservation to our limestone reserves, we also need to make certain our extraction methods are sustainable for our present and future generations, as well as the natural environment…and for the 4 for 4 at Wendy’s!
Hello everyone! My name is Adam Sizemore. I am from Morehead, Kentucky; a small town located in the Appalachian region of our great state. Even though I do not currently live there, I have lived in Kentucky my entire life and Appalachia has always been important to me.
I moved to Louisville in the summer of 2014 to continue graduate school at UofL. Prior to that summer, I completed both my undergraduate and Masters degrees at Morehead State University. There I became focused on studying environmental issues.
There isn’t a specific moment I remember becoming interested in environmental matters, but it stretches as far back as Elementary School. In the 4th grade, I entered a Kentucky conservation-writing contest where I imagined “00H20” (double-oh-H20), a secret agent who gave citations to people with outdated and environmentally unfriendly appliances, water faucets, and toilets.
Maybe I was just a little too obsessed with James Bond; I wonder where that paper is now…
Anyway, my environmental focus has shifted greatly since then! At Morehead State, I was extremely interested in our food system and its impacts on our environment. Now, I am focused on environmental issues in Appalachia; especially coal mining in Central Appalachia. I am currently researching how members of Martin County, Ky overcame a dam failure that released over 300 million gallons of coal waste into the community in the fall of 2000.
Being an advocate for the environment is something that I am passionate about in my career, as well as my personal life. My wife and I are expecting our first child this November and the well being of our planet for future generations is something that will always be crucial to me. I am excited to discuss environmental topics, as well as continue to learn more with each of you each month!
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”-Jane Goodall