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About Hartwell Dam and Lake

Hartwell Lake is one of the southeast’s largest and most popular public recreation lakes. Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1955 and 1963, the authorized purposes are flood risk management, water quality, water supply, downstream navigation, hydropower production, fish and wildlife protection, and recreation. Each year, millions of people utilize the many public parks, marinas, and campgrounds conveniently located around the lake to pursue a variety of outdoor recreational experiences –making Hartwell one of the most visited Corps lakes in the nation [READ MORE].

News & Events

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SAVANNAH, Ga. – Spring’s arrival signals the renewal of Lake Hartwell’s annual cleanup initiative, Clean Up Green Up, occurring April 18-25. The Savannah District Corps of Engineers’ Hartwell Lake Office and the Lake Hartwell Association (LHA) collaborate to usher in this new effort.


SAVANNAH, Ga. – This spring Hartwell Lake will host the annual cleanup initiative and usher in a new effort to revamp the annual fall tradition. Lake Hartwell’s new cleanup campaign, Clean Up Green Up, typically held in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, leaps forward to April 18-25 in conjunction with Earth Day. For additional info click here.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – New 2015 annual passes for day use recreation areas are now available for purchase at the Corps’ Savannah District's three dam and lake projects — lakes Hartwell, Richard B. Russell, and J. Strom Thurmond.
SAVANNAH, Ga. – The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Hartwell and Thurmond Lake Project Offices will accept natural Christmas trees for recycling Dec. 26 through Feb. 15, 2015 at Hartwell and Dec. 20 through Jan. 8, 2015 at Thurmond.

HARTWELL LAKE, Ga. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District announces two options for winter camping at Hartwell Lake.

Watsadler Campground in Hartwell, Georgia, and Twin Lakes Campground in Pendleton, South Carolina, are currently open until Nov. 30. Beginning Dec.1, designated areas are open for the winter months at both campgrounds. Each campground features electric and water hook-ups, restrooms with showers, dump stations, boat ramps, playgrounds, and staffed entrance gates.

“Many people enjoy the cooler temperatures that we have this time of year and the majority of the campsites even come with a lake view,” said Natural Resource Specialist Tanya Grant. “The campgrounds also tend to be less crowded in the fall and winter, especially on weekdays.”

The Corps recommends campsite reservations up to six months in advance through the National Recreation Reservation Service online at or toll-free at 877-444-6777.
For questions about Hartwell Lake campgrounds, please contact the Hartwell Dam & Lake office at 706-856-0300 or 1-888-893-0678.

The Hartwell Dam Quarry hunting area will temporarily close to the general public Nov. 17 – 20, to accommodate a special deer hunt for the Paralyzed Veterans of America.  

The area is located adjacent to GA Highways 181 and 29 near the Hartwell Lake Project Office.

All other designated recreation areas for archery and small game hunting during the 2014-2015 hunting season will remain open to the public.

For more information, contact the Hartwell Lake office at 1-888-893-0678.

ELBERTON, Ga. – Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Southeastern Power Administration (SEPA), and Duke Energy signed a new operating agreement today defining how water resources will be shared among the Duke Energy and Corps reservoirs in the Savannah River Basin. This operating agreement will increase drought tolerance within the watershed and promote conservation efforts.
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The three reservoirs on the Savannah River operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers entered the first drought level today when pool elevation at J. Strom Thurmond Lake dipped briefly to 325.85 feet above mean sea level (ft-msl). Entering Trigger Level 1 activates the Corps’ drought management plan which limits the discharge rate from the Thurmond Dam.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in partnership with the Lake Hartwell Association, will host the 34th annual Hartwell Lake Clean-Up Campaign, Aug. 1 through Sept. 20. Volunteers from scout groups, civic clubs, subdivision residents, businesses, families and friends are encouraged to pick up litter and other non-natural debris on and around Hartwell Lake.

Click here to download a volunteer registration form.

Click here to view news release.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Hartwell Lake Project was named by Rivers Alive as the 2013 Government Partner of the Year, recognizing the project's efforts during the annual Hartwell Lake clean-up campaign.

Rivers Alive is an outreach program led by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division that targets the annual cleanup of all waterways located within the state — including streams, rivers, lakes, beaches and wetlands.

The Government Partner of the Year Award recognizes the government entity that holds the most successful clean-up and exemplifies the Rivers Alive mission. During the Hartwell Lake 2013 clean-up campaign, 450 volunteers contributed 3,600 volunteer hours between Aug. 1 and Sept. 28 and successfully removed 9,000 pounds of trash from the banks of Hartwell Lake.

"This award represents a cohesive partnership between the Corps of Engineers, the Lake Hartwell Association (LHA), and many volunteers and partners," said George Bramlette, Hartwell operations project manager. "The members of LHA have devoted significant time and resources to the clean-up campaign and are instrumental in our success."

Click here to read more


HARTWELL, Ga. – Thanks to a lease agreement between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Hart and Stephens counties, three parks at Hartwell Lake previously slated for closure this year will remain open to the public.

Effective May 1, the government of Stephens County, Ga., will begin operations and maintenance of Stephens County Park; and the government of Hart County, Ga., will begin operations and maintenance of the Milltown and Long Point recreation areas.

Current Corps of Engineers annual passes will be honored at these locations until they expire.

"Decreasing federal funding for recreation has made it increasingly difficult for the Corps of Engineers to maintain all Corps-operated recreation areas in a safe and functional condition for public use," said Kenneth Bedenbaugh, Hartwell natural resources program manager. "To avoid closure of selected recreation areas, we reached out to municipalities around Hartwell Lake to explore interest in leasing certain areas for future operation and maintenance."

The Corps of Engineers will continue to operate and maintain Watsadler and Payne’s Creek Campgrounds, Big Oaks and Elrod Ferry day use areas, and several access areas within Hart County. The Corps will also continue operation and maintenance of Jenkins Ferry, Spring Branch and Walker Creek access areas in Stephens County.

For more information or questions, please contact Kenneth Bedenbaugh at 1-888-893-0678, ext. 337.


The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District will open the following campgrounds for the 2014 recreation season on April 1 at Hartwell Lake:

• Springfield Campground, Anderson County, S.C. Open April 1 – Oct. 31. This campground is conveniently located only minutes away from Anderson, S.C., with a total of 79 sites (75 waterfront). All sites are equipped with electric (50-amp) and water hook-ups. Springfield also has four double sites for those wishing to camp together. Shower/restroom facilities are conveniently located throughout the park. Other amenities at the park include a dump station, swim beach, playgrounds, park attendant, and a boat ramp with courtesy dock and security lighting.

• Twin Lakes Campground, Pickens County, S.C. All sites are open April 1 – Nov. 30; from Dec. 1 - March 31 sites 25-58 are open. Twin Lakes campground is one of the most popular campgrounds on Hartwell Lake. The campground is located at the northern end of the lake in South Carolina. Clemson University is only minutes away, making Twin Lakes the campground of choice for Clemson Alumni during football season. Twin Lakes has a total of 102 sites (85 waterfront), all with electric (50-amp) and water hook-ups. Shower/restrooms facilities are conveniently located throughout the park. The following amenities are also available: dump stations, swim beach, boat ramp with courtesy dock, park attendant, playgrounds, fishing pier, picnic shelter and security lighting.

• Watsadler Campground, Hart County, Ga. All sites are open April 1 – Nov. 30; from Dec. 1 - March 31 sites 2-23 are open. The campground is located near the Hartwell Dam overlooking the "Big Water" section of the lake. This campground has a total of 51 sites (49 waterfront), all with electric (50-amp) and water hook ups. This campground features single and double sites. Other amenities at this campground include: shower/restroom facilities, dump station, playgrounds, park attendant, and boat ramp with courtesy dock and security lighting.

Reservations for campsites can be made by calling the National Recreation Reservation Service toll- free at 877-444-6777 or online at . For more information, contact the Hartwell Lake Operations Manager’s Office toll free at 888-893-0678. 

Due to significant projected budget reductions in fiscal year 2014, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District will reduce park operations and visitor services at lakes Hartwell and J. Strom Thurmond during the 2014 recreation season.

The Corps will close one campground and five day use areas on Hartwell Lake, and four campgrounds on Thurmond Lake. In addition, the Corps will partially close two day-use areas on Hartwell Lake, and two day use areas and two campgrounds on Thurmond Lake, with only the boat ramps remaining open in those areas.

The Corps selected recreation areas for full or partial closures based on an analysis of its recreation program, which included visitation numbers, costs to operate and maintain parks, and the location of similar facilities. These recreation areas were selected to minimize impacts to the public and surrounding communities while achieving the necessary cost reductions. READ MORE...

With the 2013 summer recreation season drawing to a close, officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District announce the annual autumn park closing schedule for recreation facilities at Hartwell Lake.

Paynes Creek and Georgia River campgrounds will close Sept. 9. Oconee Point, Coneross and Crescent campgrounds will close Oct. 1. Springfield Campground will close Nov. 1. Twin Lakes and Watsadler Campgrounds remain open year round.

Long Point and Mullins Ford day-use areas will completely close for the season on Sept. 9. Portions of Georgia River, Twelve Mile, River Forks, Twin Lakes, Singing Pines and Elrod Ferry day-use areas will close on Sept. 9, but ramps and fishing piers will remain open. Friendship and Poplar Springs day-use areas were closed during the 2013 season and will remain closed during the winter off season.


For additional information, contact the Hartwell Dam and Lake Office toll free at 1-888-893-0678.

Since Oct. 1, 2011, eight people have died on properties surrounding Lakes Hartwell, Russell and Thurmond. Three of those fatalities occurred in a single place: Hartwell's Singing Pines Recreation Area. All three tragedies happened outside designated swimming areas and none of the victims wore life jackets.


Contact Information

Hartwell Lake Office
5625 Anderson Hwy
Hartwell, GA 30643-5259

Phone Numbers
706-856-0300 or toll free at

Hartwell Dam and Lake