NASHVILLE, Tenn. (May 5, 2023) – The team of heroes at J. Percy Priest Lake are known for repairing and maintaining equipment around campgrounds and recreation areas, often saving the day by fixing a toilet flush, fixing a leak, and so on. line, or restore power at the campsite.
These repair crusaders respond with the tools of the trade in work trucks, ready to troubleshoot, repair, and provide the best customer service experience to the millions of visitors who service each year at this popular resort on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee.
The US Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District manages recreation areas and facilities in the 10 Cumberland River Basin, J. Including Percy Lake, it is 42 miles long and includes 18,852 acres of public lands. In the year By 2022, nearly five million people will enjoy the recreation of the lake’s day-use areas, campgrounds and concession marinas. About two million of these visits were to USACE-operated recreational facilities alone.
By J. Percy Priest Lake, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District Facility Manager Dave Parsons said protecting these areas is a huge responsibility given the high volume of visitors, and his team of heroes is proud to continue to respond and think about how to support recreation. At day-use sites, campgrounds, boat ramps, office spaces, and visitor centers.
“I would say the number one thing we do is maintain our facilities that were built in the 1970s,” Parsons said. They are used by our creators – the amount of usage in that number means we always have something to fix.
Parsons explained that the staff spends a lot of time during the winter preparing for the recreational season. That means carefully inspecting items that are damaged or in need of repair, making repairs, and then responding as needed when people return in the spring and summer to keep the facilities operational and open to the public.
The facility’s management team is made up of veterans with disabilities, including one combat veteran who served in Afghanistan. Zach Dixon, a park contractor representative and Army veteran, joined the team in May 2017. Gary Hessaker, the park’s contract supervisor and Navy veteran, arrived in January 2018. Gerald Bell, a maintenance mechanic and Army veteran, arrived in 2020. They have specific roles. and responsibilities, but often work together to support recreational initiatives and maintenance measures.
The facilities team works throughout the year to prepare and maintain Anderson Street Day Use Area, Cooking day use place, Jefferson Springs Recreation Area, Anderson Road Camp (37 camps) Pool Nobs Camp (87 camps) and Seven point camp (59 camps)
Greg Thomas, resource manager at J. Percy Priest Lake, said the increase in visitors over the past several years has created an additional workload for the general staff and especially the facility’s management team.
“Since the onset of Covid-19, we’ve seen an increase in recreational activities that have presented some unique challenges,” Thomas said. “One of those challenges is congestion in the Anderson Street Day Use area. We had to change our management style at this location to increase the safety and security of visitors and customers.
During past holiday seasons, traffic has been stopped for more than a mile as it enters the Anderson Road day-use area. This prevented campers from getting in or out of the camp, and upset nearby apartment dwellers.
The new traffic plan being implemented at the Anderson Road Day-Use Area will begin Memorial Day weekend to manage traffic at the intersection of Anderson Road and Couchville Pike. The new flow will help manage the movement of vehicles in and out of the area safely and efficiently. It also restricts vehicle access to the Anderson Road Fitness Trail parking lot on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
To support this public safety initiative, maintenance crews have been working to install a turnstile, electric gate and park attendant booth at the entrance to the Anderson Street Day Use Area. They also installed speed bumps on the road through the park and built a gravel parking lot on the alternate route for pedestrians.
“Their efforts will reduce the manpower needed to operate Anderson Road and free up park rangers to focus on other areas around the lake,” Thomas added.
Maintenance crews are supporting the reopening of the lake’s three campgrounds and 183 campsites. The campground includes many amenities such as showers, toilets, bathrooms, electrical hookups, potable water, shelters, picnic tables, barbecue grills, fire pits, trash cans, boat ramps, playgrounds, and swimming areas. All need maintenance.
On opening day May 1 at Poole Knobs Camp, the team cleared branches and debris, fixed a washing machine and conducted electrical inspections at the campsites. Hessaker said his first priority is to make sure the campground is safe for visitors while replacing a broken circuit breaker at one campground.
“We have to go through and assess dangerous trees and get in here to remove dangerous limbs or trees, especially now with the ash situation,” Hessaker said. We replace water carriers and risers, carry out improvements in the facilities and wash houses, do plumbing and replace water heaters.
During recreation, contractors are used to do landscaping, mow grass, clean restrooms, wash debris and picnic tables, and remove leaves and limbs from campsites.
Parsons added that these maintenance superheroes are able to safely move materials, operate heavy equipment and manage long construction projects while minimizing the impact on recreational activities.
“Of course we can’t be using heavy equipment and doing major repairs while people are using the facilities,” Parsons said. “We build this whole data throughout the year, then we hit it hard in the winter. And of course we’re fighting the weather, but we try to get all the maintenance done and ready for the opening of the next resort season.”
The public can find news, updates and information from members of the US Army Corps of Engineers on Facebook from the US Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil. www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can follow J. Percy Priest Lake on Facebook. www.facebook.com/jppercypriestlake. Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest Nashville District employment and contracting opportunities. https://www.linkedin.com/company/us-army-corps-of-engineers-nashville-district
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