Kenlake State Resort Park is a state park located in Powell and Wolfe Counties, Kentucky. The park consists of approximately 1,300 acres (5km2) situated around Kenlake Lake, an impoundment on the Ohio River created by the Robert P. Patterson dam which was constructed in 1950 across part of the Middle Fork of the Red River. It is one of two resort parks operated by the Kentucky Department for Parks. The other resort park is Taylorsville Lake State Resort Park. Both resorts offer facilities including boat rentals, cabins, camping areas, hiking trails, playgrounds, picnic shelters, swimming pools, equestrian area, and golf course. Kenlake also has tennis courts, volleyball court, and miniature golf course.
Kenlake’s annual events include Music at the Marina, held during July; Pioneer Days, held during October; and New Year’s Eve Party, held annually. In addition to scheduled programs, interpretive displays, and nature trail, there is a visitor center open year-round with exhibits about local plants, animals, geology, history, etc. There are eight miles (13km) of mountain biking trails, plus additional trails inside the park. A disc golf course is now available, as well as nine holes of traditional golf. Camping opportunities are plentiful, ranging from full hookups, to tent sites, to youth group campsites. Boat camping is allowed all year long. Cabins are available to rent year round. Half of the cabins are equipped with fire rings, but utensils, dishes, and lights are not furnished.
Full hookup RV sites have water and electric only. Primitive camping is allowed in designated areas, away from roads, waterways, and developed campgrounds. Tent sites can be found near most of the primitive campers along with modern restrooms facilities. Located within walking distance of all these amenities is the “Resort” where guests may stay overnight in rooms that feature either King or Twin beds, Fireplace, Kitchen & Dining Area, private bath, screened back porch, covered front porch, yard, canoe, paddleboat, kayak, rowboat, hiking path, bike path, pavilion, playground, picnic shelter, horseshoe pit, volleyball court, tether ball, tether post, trampoline, sand volleyball, archery range, horse shoe pits, mini golf course, 18 hole disc golf course, basketball courts, tennis courts, sledding hill, toboggan run, snow tubing hill, ice skating rink, and playground equipment.
During the spring and summer season, the festival grounds host a variety of music performances, crafts shows, food fairs, and sports competitions. The park receives over 3 million visitors yearly. Kenlake hosted the Special Olympics Summer Games in 1980, and the games were broadcast internationally. The event brought an estimated $90 million into the local economy. As a result of the economic impact study, undertaken after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, it was announced that the Special Olympics would not be returning to Kenlake until 2032. Instead they will be held at nearby Taylor Mill Lake. This decision was made despite strong public support for the return of the games to Kenlake.
After failing to secure the rights to hold future games at Taylor Mill Lake, the Commonwealth of Virginia sought to build a new aquatic venue in 2007. However legislation preventing the state from doing so without legislative appropriation failed to pass through both houses of the General Assembly. A privately funded project to renovate and expand the current Kenlake Aquatic Center to accommodate multi-purpose use, including special needs children’s programming, began in late June 2009. Renovation costs were expected to be between $4 and $6 million with a completion time frame of six months. Legislation allowing the state to enter into such a contract with the private sector passed through the House of Delegates on May 25, 2010, and was signed by Governor Bob McDonnell on June 30, 2010. On February 14, 2012, the newly renamed Kenlake State Resort Park opened its doors to the general public.
Visitors needing a cotter pin license from the state to operate a motorized vessel are prohibited from entering the park. Boats are restricted to non-powered or human powered navigation only. No gasoline motors are permitted. Motorized boats must be properly registered with any state. Flatbottom fishing boats are allowed on the lake, but no powerboats. All anglers must wear life jackets that are approved by the United States Coast Guard. Seasonal hunting is limited to bowhunting. Deer may be taken with a bow and arrow during certain times of the year. Other wildlife may be hunted legally too, though white tail deer are rarely seen in this part of eastern Kentucky.
Common game fish include: