Hartwell Lake, GA
Regarded as one of the southeast’s largest lakes, Lake Hartwell is located on the Savannah River, bordering Georgia and South Carolina. This man-made reservoir was created by the Hartwell Dam, which extends for seven miles below the confluence of the Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers. Lake Hartwell is a very popular recreational lake, stretching for 49 miles up the Tugaloo River and 45 miles up the Seneca River at normal pool elevation, comprising 56,000 acres of water and 962 miles of beautiful shores. Named for the American Revolutionary War figure Nancy Hart, a devout patriot and lover of liberty, who lived in the Georgia frontier, Lake Hartwell was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1955 and 1963. The lake serves several functions, including flood risk management, water supply, navigation, hydropower production and fish and wildlife protection.
The Lake Hartwell region has a rich history, which tells the story of the Cherokee Indians, whose land (originally) the lake was built over. A large Indian mound rising above the waters of Lake Hartwell is evidence of the Cherokee Indians’ existence in the lake region. Early settlers of this area were Scotch-Irish farmers who started a new life in Georgia, many escaping the potato famine of the mid-19th century. Historic figures who occupied this area includes formidable Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens, spokesman for the slave-plantation system of the antebellum South, John C. Calhoun and American naturalist William Bartram, who traveled the area recording the region's plants, animals, and Indian peoples.
The Lake Hartwell region supports a diverse flora and fauna. Aquatic plants include alligatorweed, coon’s tail, waterweed, while common species of trees comprises bald cypress, water tupelo, red maple, sweetgum, water ash and water oak. An abundance of fish can be found in Lake Hartwell, including carp, spotted sucker, redbreast sunfish, silver redhorse, spottail shiner, channel catfish, gizzard shad, yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, walleye, bowfin and silvery minnow. Bluebirds, purple martins and wood ducks, common flickers, eastern screech owls and Canada goose, along with the endangered species of the peregrine falcon and American bald eagle can be spotted in this lake region.
There are several activities that can be enjoyed on Lake Hartwell and its surrounding area, including camping, biking, fishing, swimming, water sports, boating, canoeing and kayaking, wildlife watching, hiking, horseback riding and camping. The quiet, serene atmosphere of Lake Hartwell is inviting to say the least.
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