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Lake Robertson in Rockbridge County

Located on a 581 acre tract of forests and rolling hills on the eastern slopes of the Allegheny mountains, fourteen miles west of Lexington, is the Lake A. (Absalom) Willis Robertson Recreation Area. Named in 1971 for the late U.S. senator from Lexington who championed conservation causes and who was an ardent sportsman, the lake and recreation area offers camping, fishing, a swimming pool and bath house, picnic areas and hiking trails.

A. W. RobertsonRobertson (27 May 1887 – 1 November 1971) also was a lawyer and a Democrat who represented Virginia in both the U.S. House and Senate. According to Wikipedia, Robertson was a conservative Democrat who resisted integration. This attitude did not bode well for the 1966 Democratic primary, where Senator William B. Spong, Jr. defeated Robertson in one of the biggest upsets in Virginia political history.

But, probably the best known production by Senator Robertson is his son, televangelist Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson. Pat Robertson also aspired to political ambitions, but his bid as the Republican Party’s nominee in the 1988 presidential election failed. As a result of his seeking political office, he no longer serves in an official role for any church. This does not stop him from presenting a public voice for conservative Christianity.

Pat RobertsonApproximately 75 acres of this agency land are leased to Rockbridge County to operate a park and recreation facility around the lake. The lake is a crystal clear lake with an average depth of 18 feet. The lake’s clarity poses some challenges for fishermen. Trophy largemouth bass are frequently seen cruising the shallows in spring and fall, but warily swim off when approached by anglers. Old roadbeds, house foundations, and springs are located on the lake’s bottom, so anglers who have done their homework will easily locate fish.

Anglers can obtain a five day state or county license. No gasoline motors or swimming is allowed, although they do maintain a swimming pool and bath house on the grounds. The recreation area also holds a tennis court, volley ball, badminton, and softball field, along with two “tot lot” playfields. For hunters, access is by the west gate during legal hunting hours for Fall Big Game and Spring Gobbler Season.

Additionally, this area is known for its birding opportunities. You can find a variety of water fowl here, including great blue and green herons and the occasional belted kingfisher during summer months. The banks of the lack are great to search for butterflies, and powdered dancers abound. Learn more about the birding opportunities at Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries.

Both trailer/RV and tent camping are available. Camping fees include water and electricity hook-ups. Regular season reservations are accepted with a deposit, usually starting 1 April of each year. Currently, 53 campsites are in operation, and sites are available to accommodate most all sizes recreational vehicles or tents (some are pull-through). All sites maintain a fire ring, picnic table, water, and electricity.

To get to the lake from Lexington, take State Route 251 to Collierstown and Rt. 770 to the lake entrance. Visit the Lake A. Willis Robertson site to learn more.

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