May 29, 2013 — A soft opening of Greenbo Lake State Resort Park’s new scuba diving area will take place late next month, with an official opening date in July.
Officials met at the park last Thursday afternoon to hammer out final details, including rules, admission fees and preparations before the site can open.
A free diving cleanup day, which will serve as a soft opening, will be June 22. On that day, the $15 admission fee will be waived for divers who volunteer to help remove underwater debris and trash from the area. A formal grand opening date is slated for mid-July, but officials are still working out the details.
When it opens, Greenbo’s 10-acre public dive area will be the only one of its kind in the state. It was approved by state legislators and Kentucky Fish and Wildlife officials last year on a three-year trial basis.
Members of the nonprofit Friends of Greenbo Lake spearheaded the effort in cooperation with local and state Department of Parks officials. It is part of a larger, ongoing effort to diversify recreational offerings at state parks to attract and retain visitors.
“We’re very excited about it,” said Cary Lyle, park director. “This is going to be a wonderful thing. It’s going to bring in a new clientele to the park. It’s going to give avid scuba divers a new place to come.”
“I think it is a wonderful opportunity,” agreed Barbara Atwood, acting deputy commissioner of the Department of Parks and executive director of administration and research. She attended the Friends meeting, in which admission fees and diver rules were agreed upon.
“Coming to this meeting and seeing all the enthusiasm of people that actually do the sport, I think this could be a great success,” Atwood said.
“As much as we want to hope that the next generation will just enjoy the beauty and the hiking (in state parks), we know that sometimes they want some more physical or fun things ... like ziplining or this. This would introduce the sport to a landlocked area. People generally don’t think about scuba unless they live near the ocean or on a bigger body of water.”