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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 as part of a flood control, hydropower, and navigation project, authorized purposes now include recreation, water quality, water supply, and fish and wildlife management. 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
Hartwell Lake is a man-made lake bordering Georgia and South Carolina on the Savannah, Tugaloo, and Seneca Rivers. The lake is created by Hartwell Dam located on the Savannah River seven miles below the point at which the Tugaloo and Seneca Rivers join to form the Savannah. Extending 49 miles up the Tugaloo and 45 miles up the Seneca at normal pool elevation, Hartwell Lake comprises nearly 56,000 acres of water with a shoreline of 962 miles. The entire Hartwell “Project” contains 76,450 acres of land and water. Interstate 85 bisects Hartwell Lake and makes the area easily accessible to visitors.
Hartwell Lake and Dam is the second Corps of Engineers project to be built in the Savannah River Basin. The first, J. Strom Thurmond Lake and Dam, was completed in 1952. A third project, Richard B. Russell Lake and Dam was completed in 1985. Congress authorized Hartwell in 1950 and construction began in October 1955. The project was completed in 1963 at a cost of more than $89 million.
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