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Posted 5/24/2013

Release no. 2013-042

Tim Dugan

CONCORD, Mass. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will conduct visitor surveys this spring and summer at the Mansfield Hollow Lake recreation area in Mansfield, Conn., and the West Thompson Lake recreation area in Thompson, Conn. This is part of a nationwide effort to survey visitors at more than 30 Corps-managed lake site recreation areas. Visitors leaving these recreation areas will be asked about their length of stay and overall experience.


Participation in the survey is voluntary. Surveys at five New England sites in Connecticut and Massachusetts will be on various days and at various times between June 3 and Aug. 30, 2013 (with make-up days between Aug. 31 and Sept. 5): Mansfield Hollow Lake in Mansfield, Conn.; West Thompson Lake in Thompson, Conn.; Westville Lake in Southbridge, Mass.; West Hill Dam in Uxbridge, Mass.; and Buffumville Lake in Charlton, Mass.


Surveys at Mansfield Hollow Lake will be at the dam trailhead parking area. Surveys at West Thompson Lake will be at the campground site. These surveys will provide the Corps with baseline information to be used for budgeting and planning purposes. The Corps hopes to learn more about visitor recreation habits to better plan for new trends in the way leisure time is spent at Corps recreation sites. Findings will help ensure that recreation facilities at Corps lakes are operating efficiently to maximize visitor outdoor opportunities and enjoyment.


Interns from the Student Conservation Association (SCA) will conduct the short interviews (less than 3 minutes) with visitors. The survey has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget. The Corps routinely conducts visitor interviews at its lakes and river projects in an effort to gauge visitors’ experiences and concerns. In 2012, similar surveys were conducted by SCA interns involving 108 survey sites at 31 Corps lakes nationwide.


The Corps is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, managing more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas they provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages. For more information on the survey and Corps recreation sites nationwide, visit


Mansfield Hollow Lake is off Route 6 and Route 195 in Mansfield. A 450-acre state-managed lake, with a boat ramp, affords free boating and fishing opportunities. Stocked trout may be caught in the outlet area below the dam, and the lake supports warm water fishing for bass, hornpout, and perch. Large group activities, such as bass tournaments, require a state permit. Other facilities/ opportunities include restrooms, drinking water, uncovered picnic areas, hiking trails and hunting.                           

Mansfield Hollow Lake dam on the Natchaug River in Mansfield Hollow, was constructed at a cost of $6.4 million. The 14,050-foot-long, 68-foot-high dam can impound a 49,200-acre foot reservoir, which is equivalent to 16 billion gallons of water. Since it was placed in operation in 1952, it has prevented damages of $101.6 million. The reservoir area offers fine recreational opportunities, including picnicking, fishing, boating, hunting, and nature study and annually attracts more than 574,900 visitors. For more information on Mansfield Hollow call (860) 923-2982 or visit


West Thompson Lake is on Route 12 in Thompson. The 200-acre lake has a boat ramp and supports bass, perch, pickerel and hornpout. The campground is open from the third Friday in May through the Sunday after Labor Day and then weekends only through Columbus Day. Fees are charged for use of campsites. Some sites are equipped with water and electricity. Showers and restrooms are barrier free. Three picnic shelters, and several group use areas may be reserved for a fee, on a first come, first serve basis. These three picnic shelters are popular for outdoor weddings, family birthdays and reunions and other group functions. Group activities such as bass tournaments, field dog trails, and Scout group campouts require a special use permit. An 18-hole disc golf course is available for use by the public free of charge. West Thompson also offers hiking trails, hunting, 5-mile water trail for paddling, and free public programs. 


West Thompson Lake dam is located on the Quinebaug River in Thompson. Construction of the $7 million facility was completed in 1965, and since that time the facility has prevented more than $56.4 million in flood damages. The 2,550-foot-long, 70-foot-high dam can impound a 1,250-acre pool capable of storing 8.3 billion gallons of water. Picnicking, hiking, boating, fishing, camping, and hunting are enjoyed by over 96,300 visitors annually. The Corps manages 2,059 acres of land and water at West Thompson Lake stretching six miles from Putnam to the Massachusetts border. For more information about West Thompson call 860-923-2982 or visit the website at


For more information about Corps recreation sites in New England District visit the website at