Flood Risk Management
Ball Mountain Lake is located on the West River, a tributary to the Connecticut River, as part of a network of flood damage reduction projects in the Upper Connecticut River Basin. Construction began in 1956 and was completed in 1961 at a cost of $10.3 million dollars. With a length of 915 feet and a height of 265 feet Ball Mountain is one of the largest earthen dams in New England.
Since its completion, Ball Mountain Lake has prevented flood damages in excess of $84 million, including $18.3 million during the heavy rains of April 1987. During this storm, the flood storage area upstream of the dam was filled to capacity and excess water had to be discharged over the spillway.
The Reservoir Regulation Team (RRT), located at the Corps' New England District Headquarters in Concord, MA, is the "nerve center" for all Corps-operated dams in New England. Using radio and satellite communications, the RRT constantly monitors river levels and weather conditions and directs the operation of the dams during high flows. For information on river flows, dam operations, snow depths, recreational water releases and more visit the Reservoir Regulations Teams home page.
The natural setting surrounding Ball Mountain Lake is enjoyed by a variety of visitors. Panoramic views from the overlook area at the dam offer sightseers, photographers, picnickers, and hikers pleasing views of Stratton and Bromley Mountains.
The dam access road is open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from the third Saturday in May through the weekend after Labor Day and Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. from mid-September through mid-May.
Ball Mountain Lake periodically releases water for whitewater rafting, canoeing, and kayaking in conjunction with the seasonal drawdown of the pool.
Located within the reservoir lands at Ball Mountain Lake is the Winhall Brook Camping Area. Situated about seven miles north of Ball Mountain Lake off Route 100, the camping area offers a variety of recreational pursuits. The camping area is open for camping the third Friday in May through Columbus Day, during which the entire family will enjoy the trails, play grounds, and general camping area environment. Our camping sites can be reserved online. During the winter months, visitors can enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling throughout the campground on almost 10 miles of trails.
Hunting and fishing are permitted in accordance with Federal and Vermont Fish and Wildlife laws and posted regulations.
Established in 1879, the West River Railroad originated in Brattleboro and terminated in South Londonderry and was nicknamed "36 miles of trouble". The Friends of the West River Trail organized in 1991 and formed a 501c3, private non-profit organization to reclaim, develop and maintain the West River Trail; working together with local, regional, state and federal partners. The Corps of Engineers is proud of its partnership with the Friends of the West River Trail.
Winhall Brook Camping Area is nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont along the Winhall and the West Rivers. The campground has a strong appeal to the outdoorsman at heart. Winhall Brook offers 111 campsites of which 14 have lean-to camping shelters (three sided Adirondack style structure), and 23 have electric and water hookups. Other amenities include a dump station, restrooms, firewood, hot showers, playgrounds, horseshoe pits, and hiking/biking trails. Weekly interpretive programs are given by Park Rangers who are also available to help visitors and answer questions. The camping area is open from the third Friday in May through Columbus Day. A maximum of 2 tents or 1 hard wheeled unit and 1 tent are allowed per site. Two adults and children under 18 are included in the site fee; additional adults with a maximum of six will be charged an additional fee.
The 8-mile run from the Ball Mountain Dam to the backwater of Townshend Lake has class II-IV rapids with 1 to 2 foot drops. Private rafting companies along with paddling clubs from around New England and New York come to enjoy the 1500 CFS (cubic feet per second) release. Current river levels can be obtained from the USGS Gauging Station in Jamaica, and scheduled release dates can be obtained from the Reservoir Regulation Team.
Reservations and Fees
There is a $1 per person (over 12 years old) area fee for non-campers entering the camping area with a maximum charge of $4 per vehicle.
Camping reservations can be made online at Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.
- Electric Sites: $22 per night
- Lean-to Shelters: $22 per night
- Campsite: $18 per night
- Additional Adult Fee: $3 per person per night
A $10.00 service fee will apply if you change or cancel your reservation. If you do not arrive at the campground or do not cancel your reservation a $20.00 service fee will apply along with the forfeit of the first nights camping fee.
Ever wish a ranger would come to your school or organization and present a program of your choosing? Ball Mountain Lake Rangers have done off-site programs on a variety of topics. The park staff can conduct group programs on or off- site year round upon request and there is no charge for these programs.
We’d also like to invite you to our offering of educational and recreational programs at Winhall Brook Camping Area. These family-oriented activities include interpretive trail walks, evening video and slide presentations, volunteer trail workdays, and more. All programs are open to the public and best of all they are free. All ages are welcome; however we do ask adults to accompany their children.
More specific information regarding a program will be posted at the restrooms before the program is scheduled to start. Outdoor programs and hikes are weather permitting.
The Corps understands that there's more than one use for the land we manage. We also understand that humans are not the only ones that use this land; other residents include many vertebrates (mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish) and invertebrates (insects, spiders, crayfish, and other creatures). Corps biologists and rangers work closely with state and federal agencies to insure healthy fish and wildlife populations.
Corps personnel manage the land (969 acres) at Ball Mountain Lake to maintain a diversity of fish and wildlife habitats. Many programs are used to benefit the native wildlife species. The installation of bird boxes has created needed nesting sites for wood ducks, tree swallows, black-capped chickadees, and bluebirds. Rangers prune apple trees to improve their health and vigor increasing the amount of food produced for wildlife. Forest stands are managed to maximize benefits to both trees and animals. The management practices of brush hogging and prescribed burning are used to maintain important open field habitats.