Along the 800 miles of shoreline, there are two state wildlife management areas, three state parks, boat docks, county parks, and public access areas. Norris extends 56 miles up the Powell River and 72 miles up the Clinch River. The lake has a surface area of more than 34,000 acres and over 800 miles of shoreline.
In some of these wooded coves-Cove Lake, Big Ridge and the area around Norris Dam-TVA established demonstration public parks, which later became the nucleus of Tennessee’s state park system.
The first dam built by the Tennessee Valley Authority created Norris Lake. A hydroelectric dam whose construction was completed in 1936. The dam is 265 feet high and 1,860 feet long. It contains a million cubic yards of concrete. Three years later, its completion helped moderate the disastrous Ohio and Mississippi River flood of 1937. The giant drum gates at the top of the spillway were raised for the first time to impound waters that would have swelled a flood more than 600 miles away. Norris has the largest flood control storage of any TVA dam on a tributary of the Tennessee.
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