In the past couple of years, “hammocking” has become a growing trend across the country and now people wishing to “hammock” can do so in a designated area at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island District, Saylorville Lake project. Typically, use of a hammock on Corps property is strictly prohibited but thanks to the installation of hammock poles, people can now enjoy the activity without breaking rules or damaging trees.
Hammock poles can now be found at Saylorville Lake’s Cherry Glen Picnic Area behind Shelter #2. This area is free to the public and is located near the campgrounds on the east side of the lake. The hammock area provides a shaded location to hang multiple hammocks and the poles are equipped for “slackline” support if users wish to use this method.
Until now, hammocks were not permitted in recreation areas at Saylorville Lake due to concerns for visitor safety. Public safety is a top priority at Saylorville Lake and while some trees may look sturdy enough to support people hanging in a hammock, this often not the case. If a tree were to fall while a person is in a hammock, serious injuries or worse could occur.
An additional concern to permitting hammocks is related to one of the other primary mission of the Corps' environmental protection. Small to medium sized trees can bend and twist when supporting weight which can affect the health and future growth of the tree. Even updated hammock straps which are wider and often contain tree protection inserts do not completely protect the trees. In some cases, trees may appear to be alive and healthy but are weakened from sickness or disease and are actually hollow. The new hammock poles at Saylorville Lake are made of steel and are anchored deeply in the ground to provide safety to the public, without causing damage to trees.
To ensure lake visitors remain safe and trees are preserved, hammock and slack line use will only be allowed on the designated hammock poles in the Cherry Glen Picnic Area. Use outside of this area continues to be prohibited and will be enforced by park rangers. Overnight stays in hammocks is also prohibited as the poles are located in a day use area and are not designated for overnight use.