|Learning to cast a fly|
At the very northern reaches of the Upstate, Lake Jocassee is fed by four cold mountain rivers: Whitewater, Thompson, Horsepasture and Toxaway. Located in the southeast corner of the lake is the Jocassee Hydro Station, which separates it from the beginning of Lake Keowee, also known as the Keowee River.
|One of the permanent exhibits features topographical maps of the area|
The man–made reservoir is approximately 26 miles long and 3 miles wide, averaging about 54 feet deep with 300 miles of shoreline. The project began in 1971 with the construction of the Keowee and Little River Dams, and today cools Duke Energy’s three nuclear reactors at the Oconee Nuclear Generating Station. Below the dams the water joins to form the Seneca River and Lake Hartwell, eventually emptying into the Savannah River.
The name Keowee is a Cherokee name meaning "place of the mulberries." What formerly had been the Keowee River was part of the Cherokee Lower Towns region, and Keowee Town had been located on its banks before it was inundated by Lake Keowee. Today it is a popular destination for recreation, with boating, swimming, sailing, kayaking and other watersports bringing in crowds on summer days. Boat launches and access points dot the shores, including in the public parks. There’s Estate Park, managed by the SCDNR, and then 1,000 acre Keowee-Toxaway State Park, which is managed by Duke Energy together with the state and consists of three different parks: Mile Creek Park, South Cove Park and High Falls Park. Some of the islands on the lake are accessible for daytime use, and the area is popular with fisherman for its three types of bass, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, catfish, brown trout and rainbow trout.
|The towers as seen from the auxilliary parking lot|
Oconee Nuclear Station has a capacity of 2,538 megawatts, and according to the Duke Power website was the first nuclear station in the US to generate 500 million megawatt-hours of electricity. The output can power 1.9 million homes, and Oconee was just the second nuclear station in the US to have its licenses renewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) after the initial licensing of 40 years. Although security at the station is strict, visitors can head to Duke Energy’s World of Energy for educational activities and interactive exhibits interested in learning more about electricity generation, Duke Energy and Lake Keowee. World of Energy regularly hosts family-friendly events such as National Hunting and Fishing Day which took place this past Saturday. We attended together with Lauris’s scout troop, exploring the indoor and outdoor facilities on a hot September day.
In addition to the permanent exhibits, the free event featured booths, games and displays by a dozen partners including Clemson, 4-H, the DNR, USFS, Upstate Forever, Cabela’s and Trout Unlimited. Kids had the opportunity to climb a rock wall, shoot with a bow or air rifle, try their hand at fly casting or lake fishing, go out in a kayak on Lake Keowee, put out a ‘fire’ with a Forest Service wildland fire engine’s hose, or don a camouflage suit and play hide & seek in the leaf litter. There was a hunter education trail set up, although really all the activities stressed safety, conservation and responsible recreation. We met a few native SC critters, explored the Butterfly Garden, took a siesta in the hammocks and had a snack overlooking Lake Keowee.
|rock climbing, fire hoses, archery, fishing and 'find the baby'!|
The next event at World of Energy is in preparation for the 2017 Great American Eclipse. The October 25th ‘Super Tuesday’ program features a lecture by Dr. Donald Liebenberg, adjunct professor of physics at the Clemson University Department of Physics and Astronomy. For more information on this and other programs at the World of Energy, please visit the Duke Energy website.
|The butterfly garden was alive with pollinators|