Beech Fork Lake (authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1962) is part of the integrated flood reduction system operated by the Corps of Engineers for the entire Ohio River Basin. When these lakes are operated as a vast storage system, flood crests along the Ohio can be significantly reduced. Beech Fork Lake opened for recreational activities in May 1978. Beech Fork Lake is near the community of Lavalette, Wayne County, West Virginia, approximately 10 miles south of Huntington.
The lake has a summer pool surface area of 720 acres and a 9.9 horsepower limit on boat engines. Motors with greater than 9.9 horsepower must have the propeller removed. Use Fees are required at the Marina Launch Ramp and Stower's Beach. Use fees are $5.00 per vehicle at the drop box, or you can display your Corps annual ($40) or America The Beautiful pass ($0-$80). You may purchase these at the Visitor Center. These passes allow unlimited use of the Marina Launch Ramp and Stower's Branch Swim Beach at Beech Fork Lake, plus all other Corps of Engineers recreation areas nationwide where a day use fee is required. America the Beautiful passes work at all federally operated areas.
Bicycles are permitted on main roads only. Under West Virginia law, all riders under the age of 12 years MUST wear a protective helmet. No bike trails are provided at Beech Fork Lake in the area operated by the Corps of Engineers. A bike trail is located at Beech Fork State Park (304-528-5794).
Launch ramps for boating enthusiasts and fishermen are located at the Beech Fork Marina and for campers at the Lower Bowen campground. A Use Fee of $5.00 per day is required for use of the Marina Launch Ramp. See 'General' information for information regarding purchase of an Annual Day Use Fee Pass. There is a 9.9 horsepower limit on boat engines, jointly established by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources. ALL PROPELLERS ON BOATS WITH ENGINES LARGER THAN 9.9 HORSEPOWER MUST BE REMOVED. Beech Fork Lake is a relatively small, shallow lake with banks consisting of soil that is easily eroded. This horsepower restriction helps ensure a safe, enjoyable boating experience while protecting the shoreline from being severely degraded by the large wakes caused by greater horsepower watercraft. For a rental fee, the privately-operated Beech Fork Lake Marina, located at the dam, provides visitors with docking facilities and rental of motorboats, canoes, and lifejackets. Lake brochures are available at the Visitor Center or from Park Rangers.
Camping at Beech Fork Lake is restricted to developed camping areas at Beech Fork State Park (a 25-30 minute drive from the Beech Fork Lake Dam at Lavalette, WV). Camping in all other areas, including the backcountry and shoreline, is prohibited. Beech Fork State Park includes a 275 site campground, day use facilities, and adjoining areas operated by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Division of Parks and Recreation. All campsites have electrical hookups, and there is a boat launching ramp nearby. For more information call Beech Fork State Park at (304) 528-5794. Their web address is http://www.wvparks.com/beechfork. The use of vehicles off authorized roadways at Beech Fork Lake is prohibited.
The Beech Fork fishery is a shared responsibility. The Department of Natural Resources and the Corps manage the fisheries program by habitat improvement and an aquatic vegetation program which benefits all fish species. The Department of Natural Resources has stocked the Lake with Saugeye fry, channel catfish, largemouth bass, black crappie, and hybrid bass. The outflow area downstream of Beech Fork Dam is stocked with trout February through April. West Virginia fishing licenses are required. Fishing License Information
All picnic shelters and restrooms, the Beech Fork Lake Visitor Center/administrative building, and the Marina launch ramp are universally accessible. In addition, each recreation area offers several universally accessible, individual picnic sites; and the recreation areas upstream and downstream of the Dam feature universally accessible fishing piers.
Several trails are maintained by the Corps of Engineers at Beech Fork Lake. They are located in the vicinity of Beech Fork Dam, and the Stowers Branch Beach. Beech Fork State Park (304-528-5794) also features a network of trails. Horseback Riding (Not Available)
Wildlife management is a shared responsibility. The Department of Natural Resources and the Corps manage the wildlife program by habitat improvement and food-plot programs for the benefit of many wildlife species. West Virginia hunting licenses are required. Contact the project office for a topographic map showing where hunting is permitted.
Privately operated Beech Fork Lake Marina, located at the damsite at Lavalette, WV, provides visitors with docking facilities and rental of motorboats, canoes, and lifejackets. For more information call the marina at (304) 522-9374.
There are four picnic shelters with electrical outlets, charcoal grills, playgrounds, and restrooms located in the recreation areas upstream and downstream of Beech Fork Dam. These shelters are available on a first-come, first-served basis EXCEPT WHEN RESERVED IN ADVANCE. The fee to reserve a shelter is $80. There also is a picnic deck at the Stower’s Branch Beach that may be reserved for $30. Reservations must be made at Recreation.gov (See "Shelter Reservation System in Effect.") Numerous picnic sites containing one or two picnic tables are also available, but on a first-come, first-served basis only.
A swimming beach is located at Stower's Branch Beach. No lifeguards are provided. Swim at your own risk. The fee to swim is $5.00 per vehicle or free to pass holders. There is no charge for children under 12.
The Corps of Engineers Beech Fork Lake Visitor Center is open throughout the year, Monday thru Friday 7:30 AM until 4:00 PM, and on weekends Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, 10 AM until 4 PM. For more information call 304-525-4831.