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Pike county lake offers retreat from campus

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Taylor Walding

Variety Editor

One way in which students can ease the burden of overwhelming stress is by getting outdoors, according to Kenneth Wright. 

Wright, the director of the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at University of Colorado, Boulder, said that spending at least 45 minutes per day outdoors, preferably in the morning, will help to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, which affects mood and energy.

Luckily for Troy students, Pike County Lake is located 15 minutes away from campus.

Lake manager Bart Pettus said that although the lake is primarily a fishing lake, he enjoys having college students come there and looks forward to seeing them again this fall.

“Especially in September and October… there will be college students out there in hammocks,” Pettus said. “(They’re) in blankets, reading, walking. 

“You know, not necessarily out there fishing, but just out there getting a breath of fresh air, sitting in hammocks. It’s pretty neat to pull up and see a lot of cars out there, a lot of college students using it to get away from school is really nice.”

Amy Lowe, a junior communication major from Woodstock, said she visited the lake to take her friends’ dog for a walk.

“We walked her around and we just went on the paths, and then, we set our Enos up under some trees and just hung out with some friends right before finals,” Lowe said. “It was just a nice break.”

According to its website, Pike County Lake is approximately 45 acres of water and is run by the City of Troy. The lake re-opened June 1, 2016 after being closed for renovations for approximately three and a half years. It offers recreational activities such as fishing, small fishing boat rentals and picnic areas. Another amenity is the abundance of trees lining the lake, perfectly suited for hanging hammocks. 

“I like it because you have the water, you have the woods, you have like a little pavilion so it’s nice scenery,” Lowe said. “It’s a nice change of pace from being on campus. 

“It gives you a little bit of nice fresh air while you can still study out there because it’s quiet enough, but it’s also not as boring as just going and sitting in the library.”

Crowds are low in the heat and humidity of summer, according to Willie Caughlan, one of the on-site staff members.

“The best times are in the spring and the fall when it’s a little bit cooler,” Caughlan said. “In the fall when school really starts back, when the weather’s nicer, we have the students come out here and we have hammocks all over the place hanging in the trees out here at the lake, all different colors and everything. 

“That looks pretty cool.”

Caughlan said the facility is soon to have a mountain biking trail, which will hopefully draw visitors from all over the state. They are currently working to keep it clear and sprayed in hopes of eventually completing the project with marker signs, etc.

The state of Alabama approved the building of an archery range this past spring, according to Pettus. 

“They’ve already got the driveway and the parking lot built for it,” Pettus said. “They just have to come in and build the actual shooting range and put the targets up.”

Pettus said he hopes the state will begin construction by this fall.

“We’ve got fishing, and you know, you can walk around the lake and do other stuff, but I think an archery range would be great,” Pettus said. “The local schools have archery teams and things like that so we’re pretty excited about it.”

Located next to the lake is the conference center, which is used by the city for meetings and training, but it is also available to rent for weddings, birthday parties, family reunions, etc. Occasionally students will do homework on the patio. For further information, call 334-674-2480.