The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers staff at Hillsdale Lake manages the lake to provide benefits to the nation in areas of Flood Damage Reduction, Water Supply, Water Quality Improvements, Fish and Wildlife Management and Recreation. The Hillsdale Lake staff also operate the project Visitor Center.
The Corps manages 4,580 surface acres of water and over 8,000 acres of public land surrounding the lake. The staff conducts dam safety inspections and maintains the dam and outlet works. Corps employees make water release changes to Big Bull Creek which flows into the Marais des Cygnes River. All releases are conducted in coordination with the Kansas City District Water Management Section and the Missouri River Region Control center. Hillsdale Lake is part of the Osage River Basin along with Melvern, Pomona, Stockton, Pomme de Terre and Harry S. Truman Lake.
In 1989, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism leased 12,880 acres of land and water at Hillsdale to be managed as a Kansas State Park & Wildlife Area. Today, all recreation facilities and wildlife management lands are managed by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism.
The Corps of Engineers manages the Visitor Center located at the lake. They provide local, regional and national information to the visiting public. Adjacent to the Visitor Center is a 1.5 mile nature trail called "The Hidden Spring Nature Trail". The trail is managed as an extension of the Visitor Center. In addition to the Nature Trail, there is a Group Shelter house that can be reserved.
Other activities conducted by the Corps include: dam operations, natural resource management, water safety, public relations, visitor services, real estate management, noxious weed control, collection of weather data, lake patrol, buoy maintenance, and encroachment surveillance.