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Posted 5/8/2018

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By Truman Lake Staff


The staff at Harry S. Truman Dam and Lake work together to manage the project in accordance with the authorized purposes: primarily flood control; and secondarily hydroelectric power generation, fish and wildlife management, and recreation.

Truman Lake is the largest flood control reservoir in Missouri, with a storage capacity of more than 5 million acre-feet - an acre-foot equals 325,000 gallons. At normal pool, the Lake has a surface area of about 55,600 acres – this surface area can grow to over 200,000 acres at the top of the flood control pool. During periods of flooding, Truman Lake, operating in conjunction with other reservoirs, helps protect the lower Osage, Missouri and Mississippi River floodplains.

The Truman Power Plant has six turbine generators and a rated capacity of 160,000 kilowatts. This electrical energy is used to meet peak electrical demands when conventional power plants cannot fulfill the public’s demand for electricity. Power plant operators are on duty around the clock to control the flow of water through Truman Dam. Additionally the power plants located at Stockton and Mark Twain lakes are remotely controlled from Truman Dam.

The lake and more than 100,000 acres of land surrounding the lake is managed for fish and wildlife. Agricultural leases, prescribed burning, wetland development, food plot establishment, and native grass re-introduction are a few of the land management techniques used at Truman Lake. Over 55,000 acres are licensed to the Missouri Department of Conservation for fish and wildlife management, and approximately 8,800 acres of timber was left standing in the lake to improve fisheries habitat.

Recreational development is extensive. 20 parks and access areas, managed by or leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, are conveniently located around the Lake. Parks at Truman Lake offer a wide variety of recreation facilities including boat launching ramps, campgrounds, full service marinas, picnic areas, sand swimming beaches, and a regional visitor center. Many routine maintenance items are contracted to the private sector. Mowing, refuse collection, and facility cleanup are just a few of the activities that are performed by private contractors for the Corps.

Partnerships/Trails

The Truman Lake Project Office always looks forward for partnership efforts to ensure valuable outdoor recreational opportunities are available for public use. The Corps has a long history of cooperation and partnerships on various types of recreational improvements. Our working relationships with others have provided a significant increase in specific use associated with various types of outdoor activities.

The City of Warsaw and the Corps collaborate well and have a long partnership history.  The City of Warsaw plays a vital role to the successful management of various outdoor recreational opportunities at the lake.  Currently, they manage a long-term recreation lease that provides unique opportunities to area visitors and local residents.

According to City of Warsaw City Administrator and Planner, Randy Pogue, “I’ve been here 20 years and the Corps has been our greatest partner in expanding our recreation opportunities.” Some of the opportunities include a mountain bike park, Frisbee-golf course, multi-purpose sports complex, outdoor amphitheater, nine-hole golf course and numerous walking, hiking, and biking trails.  The trails are one of the most unique systems in the state and is starting to get-statewide recognition, becoming one of the most utilized areas in the region.

Other unique trail opportunities include Cooper Creek All-terrain Vehicle riding area.  Cooper Creek is a 400-acre off-road area for ATVs and dirt bikes.  Truman Lake also has equestrian trails located in Berry Bend Equestrian campground.  The park has three different trails adding up to 28 miles of riding.  The Truman Visitor Center has approximately 2 miles of scenic hiking trails and several more miles wind through the recently added Shawnee Bend Bluff trail with some awesome bluff walkout points. 

Truman Lake has various other established partners including the Masonic Lodge #653, which host’s a Managed Deer Hunt.  This hunt is limited to individuals with physical disabilities and this relationship is now going on 27 years.  The hunt will host between 20-25 hunters for a two day hunt providing meals and guides for a safe and enjoyable outdoor opportunity. Truman also has just established a working relationship with the Driving Force Disc Golf Club.  The club has a volunteer agreement to manage a ten-hole disc golf course in Shawnee Bend day use area.

Visitor’s Center

The Harry S. Truman Visitor Center sits high atop Kaysinger Bluff, overlooking Truman Dam and the Osage River.  One of 10 Corps Class A visitor centers in the United States and showcases Truman Lake, as well as all other lakes in the Kansas City District.  More than 50,000 people visit annually to learn about Truman Lake and the surrounding area.  Exhibits demonstrate social and natural history of our area to how hydroelectric power is created to artwork depicting scenes of yesteryear to the lake’s multiple purposes: hydroelectric power generation, fish and wildlife management, recreational opportunities, and primarily—flood control. 

Park rangers provide scheduled tours to student and tour groups and also educate the public regarding water safety at every possible opportunity.  The center offers an impressive array of brochures, maps, and water safety promotional items.  Whether folks need information on camping, boat ramp locations, hunting areas or simply where to grab lunch, Visitor Center staff are ready to assist.

In addition to providing information of local and regional interest, the Harry S. Truman Visitor Center educates visitors about the Corps national missions: support to the military, public facilities, water resources, environmental initiatives, and disaster relief.   The Visitor Center is open daily March 15 through October 31.  For additional information, please call 660-438-7317.

Camping/Day Use facilities

Stretching into four different counties and located just upstream of Lake of the Ozarks, Truman Lake offers a wide variety of activities and amenities for its visitors. The Corps manages eight campgrounds around the lake offering 655 campsites with everything from primitive to full hook up sites including water, sewer, and 50 amp electricity. There are two Group Camp areas available, some offering electricity. Truman Lake has recently adopted an extended stay camping policy allowing users to stay on the same site for up to 45 days at a time unlike the normal 14 days. This option is offered in seven of our campgrounds on designated sites and does not require overnight occupancy. This allows our frequent campers to leave their camping equipment on their site and return as they please without having to haul everything. One of our parks, Berry Bend Equestrian, is set up specifically for horseback riders. It includes 29 campsites, 24 having 30 amp electricity. There are 12 corrals located throughout the park for users, and there are over 25 miles of trails for horse riders and hikers.

Truman Lake offers picnic shelters in various locations and sizes, some including electricity. Numerous playgrounds are spread throughout the public use areas around the lake. There are courtesy docks at ten Corps managed boat ramps, along with many additional boat launch options around the lake. Below the Truman Dam in Bledsoe Ferry Park, USACE maintains handicap accessible fishing docks and a fishing pier along with many day use amenities for our visitors.  There are five Corps managed public beaches spread around the lake, two disc golf courses, and three sand volleyball courts.

Hunting/Fishing Opportunities

The Truman Lake offers a wide variety of hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing opportunities.  Half of the 110,000 acre project lies within the hills and hollows of the Ozarks region. Beautiful rock bluffs and mature oak timber make up the majority of the eastern side of the Lake, while the western half transitions into Midwest prairie.

The lake provides ample opportunity to catch all species of fish and the small town of Warsaw, at times, has been referred to as the “spoonbill capital of the world”.  In addition to recreational fishing,  Truman Lake also plays host to numerous tournaments each year with the most famous being the 1989 B.A.S.S Missouri Invitational, and most recently, the 2015 Bowfishing World Championship.           

If hunting or wildlife viewing is more your hobby then Truman Lake’s 110,000 acres of land provides plenty of habitat and excellent populations of all species of Missouri wildlife.  Abundant turkey, deer, and furbearers can be found in all reaches of the project lands.  All in all, Truman Lake has endless opportunities for the serious or avid outdoorsman.

Corps of Engineers Harry S. Truman Missouri recreation Truman Dam Truman Lake USACE Visitor Center Warsaw