The Clark Hill Reservoir, located north of Augusta, Georgia, is one of the largest inland water bodies in the Southern United States. The picturesque lake is visited most frequently by anglers, campers, picnickers and boat riders. The site is a popular hangout for the holiday makers. The lake is one of the 10 most visited U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lakes in the nation. Clark Hill Lake is also referred to as Thurmond Lake in honor of the late Senator Strom Thurmond, who came from the neighboring South Carolina.
Clark Hill Reservoir was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of Savannah District. The project was the first of the Corps involving the simultaneous development of a dam and its recreational facilities. The Clark Hill Dam was built to prevent the recurring floods of the Savannah River in and around Augusta. The work began in 1946 and was completed in 1954. The development of the recreation facilities proceeded simultaneously with the dam’s construction, as was planned.
The lake, created by the dam, covers 71,100 acres of water. It boasts a rich aquatic life, including such popular game fish as crappie, bluegill, sauger, catfish, and a large population of large-mouth bass. The land adjoining the shoreline is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts. The abundant animal life features turkey, deer, quail, dove, and duck. More than 27,000 acres of the forest land is managed by the Corps. Additionally 29,500 acres of its forest land has been leased to Georgia and South Carolina for wildlife management.
Clark Hill Reservoir’s position between Georgia and South Carolina has generated controversies. In a Joint Resolution passed by Congress in December, 1987, the Clark Hill Dam and Lake was renamed J. Strom Thurmond Dam and Lake. Although the new name has officially been passed, the residents of Georgia still prefer the old name.