The beauty of Summersville Lake
West Virginia’s largest lake offers over 2,700 surface acres of water and over 60 miles of pristine shoreline, ranging from quiet coves to vertical cliffs. Everyone can experience unparalleled recreational opportunities.
Traditional activities and amenities abound: tremendous fishing and boating, a full service marina, airport and public beach area. Summersville Lake’s unique geography and spectacular terrain is quickly gaining an international reputation as one of the best outdoor adventure sport areas on the East Coast.
Skin Diver magazine calls Summersville Lake “The Little Bahamas of the East Coast” for good reason, it’s the cleanest, clearest freshwater lake east of the Mississippi. Characterized by steep cliffs that plunge to depths 100 feet below the surface,scuba divers swim through overhangs, boulders and rock gardens encountering huge bass, walleye and catfish. Check out Sarge’s Dive Shop for more information on diving.
Breaking the waterline, miles of bullet-hard sandstone cliffs reach skyward as high as 100 feet to create some of the most amazing deep water solo climbing in North America.
A Little Background….
Summersville Dam is on the Gauley River near the town of Summersville in Nicholas County, West Virginia, and controls a watershed of 803 square miles. It is one of the US Army Corps of Engineers’ most scenic dams. A rock-fill dam, it gives the impression that nature, not man, placed it there. Summersville is the second largest dam of its type in the Eastern United States and required 12 million cubic yards of earth and rock. The Dam is 390 feet high (about as tall as a 40 story building) and 2,280 feet long. It was built under supervision of the US Army Corps between 1960 and 1966, at a cost of nearly $48 million. Lyndon B. Johnson, 36th President of the United States, dedicated the Dam on September 3, 1966. By the end of 1974, it had paid for itself by preventing flood damages to the Kanawha Valley, estimated at nearly twice its cost.
A Little History . . . . .
Gad, West Virginia . . . .About 1960, the US Army Corps of Engineers broke a long standing tradition in naming the Summersville Project. Usually the Corps names a project after the town nearest the construction site. This name becomes permanent unless the project is later named for some famous person as was Stonewall Jackson Lake in Lewis County.
Summersville was not the town nearest the site in this case. In building the Dam, the little hamlet known as Gad, West Virginia, (located near the present site of the Long Point Marina) was literally flooded to make way for the lake. After briefly considering the name “Gad Dam”, the name “Summersville” was used instead.