Inland Sea




I’m joining Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday~ this week’s letter assignment is the letter I.



Referred to as an “Inland Sea,” Lake Norman is the largest man-made lake in North Carolina, and is located in the northern part of Mecklenburg County, just 18 miles northwest of Charlotte, with over 520 miles of shoreline and a surface area of more than 32,475 acres.



Cowans Ford Dam, constructed by Duke Energy in 1963, created the largest man-made body of fresh water in North Carolina fed by the Catawba River. The total length of the facility is 7,387 feet, including more than a mile of earthen dam. The concrete portion of the dam is 1,279 feet long and 130 feet high.



The ground breaking took place on September 28, 1959. It took four years to finish the huge dam, and another two years to fill the lake. Named after retired Duke Power President, Norman Atwater Cocke, it is 34 miles long and eight miles across at its widest point. Lake Norman is 760 feet above sea level, 130 feet deep at its deepest point~ with an average depth of 33 feet, and holds 3.4 trillion gallons of water at full pond.



The water of Lake Norman is used in two ways to provide electricity to the Piedmont Carolinas. It is used to power the generators at Cowans Ford Hydroelectric Station and by Marshall Steam Station and McGuire Nuclear Station to cool the steam that drives the turbines. This steam is condensed back to water so it can be pumped back through the plants and used again. The lake provides a dependable supply of water to Lincoln County, Davidson, Mooresville, Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Huntersville, North Carolina.



The waters of Lake Norman attract a variety of waterfowl. Mallards, wood ducks, teal and other ducks, as well as geese, may be seen during certain seasons. Wading birds, including great blue herons, green-backed herons and egrets, may be encountered along lake shallows in summer. Shorebirds rest in these areas during spring and fall migrations.







 Duke’s professional foresters manage the quality of the water, plant nearly 1.8 million new trees on the land each year, stock the lake with fish, and regularly spray the shoreline with non-chemical light oil solution to control mosquitoes. A 2,135-acre water refuge was built below Cowan’s Ford Dam to shelter migratory ducks and geese in the winter. 







When Lake Norman was created 96 land areas remained above water. These islands provide valuable habitat for a wide variety of wildlife as well as recreational destinations for thousands of boaters. Most of the islands are owned by Duke Energy and are open to the public. The lake’s 96 islands cover nearly 300 acres of land with almost 30 miles of shoreline. A few cover more than 20 acres and some are just piles of rock or shoals.



In addition to providing power, water, habitat and recreation~ Lake Norman’s creation also contributes to flood control. Because the lake can handle enormous amounts of water flowing down from the mountains, the torrential rains of 1940 and 1970 did not create a terrorizing replay of the flood of 1916 which took lives, farms, homes, animals, crops, bridges and roads, and destroyed businesses that were never rebuilt.



In addition to fabulous fall color this time of year, it’s always fun to boat and admire some amazing homes on the lake. . .







Duke Energy partnered with the state in the establishment of Lake Norman State Park. In addition, Duke Energy has built two bank fishing areas and eight public boating access areas along the shoreline.


You can visit Lake Norman State Park in Troutman, NC at 159 Inland Sea Lane~



Visit Jenny Matlock for Alphabet Fun~

I’m also joining A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday~

 & Watery Wednesday ~ prepare to get your eyes wet :-)

  36 comments for “Inland Sea

  1. November 16, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Gorgeous and informative post, Mary! Thanks so much!

  2. November 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    omg i am so ready to move… you are torturing me!

  3. Pat
    November 16, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Lake Norman looks like a beautiful place, Mary! It is certainly a wonderful by product of the Cowans Ford Damn. I love your photo collages. Those lake mansions are unbelievable! WOW!

  4. November 17, 2010 at 4:51 am

    Lake Norman is just beautiful! I especially love all of the Fall Foliage pics…the colors are amazing. We have noticed many of those mansions going up on our lake as well. People just buy the old, worn out cottages…flatten them…and rebuild. It is kind of sad when you think about all the generations of families that grew up in those cottages!!

  5. November 17, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Your photos are really gorgeous. I love the mosaics. Happy Outdoor Wednesday.

  6. November 17, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Calling by from News From Italy via this week’s Outdoor Wednesday, Lake Norman looks as if it must be a beautiful place to live. What fabulous autumnal colour.

  7. November 17, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    nice series of photos!

  8. November 17, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    All the photos are stunning. The Autumn foliage is beautiful and so these humongous house. Great capture!
    Outdoor Wednesday

  9. November 17, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    It looks just beautiful. As I’m looking out my window at the falling snow, I’m already ready for some warmer weather.

  10. November 17, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    Lake Norman is just beautiful! My son lives near there so we pass it when visiting him. Thanks for sharing all that great info. Warm hugs, Esther

  11. Lola
    November 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Such amazing pics and information! Wonderful!

    XOXO Lola:)

  12. November 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    What lovely photos…I am already sick of winter!

  13. H
    November 17, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Stunning! You have some incredibly beautiful photos!

  14. November 17, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    I have seen Lake Norman, and it is just beautiful! Thanks for an interesting and informative post.

  15. Sue
    November 17, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    As always, your posts are filled with gorgeous photos and interesting information. How wonderful to live near and around beautiful Lake Norman. It’s sure a place I’d love to visit…..until then, I’ve enjoyed my trip via your blog. Thanks so much…Sue

  16. JDaniel4's Mom
    November 17, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    This looks great! When JDaniel gets a little older we will have to take him north to explore it.

  17. November 17, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    This is such a beautiful place. You really make me want to take a vacation.

  18. November 17, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    Another informative post with some beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing.

  19. November 18, 2010 at 3:52 am

    Certainly a delightful place at the turn of the year. Such colours!

  20. November 18, 2010 at 3:53 am

    This was very interesting to read. Lake Norman looks like a beautiful area around which to live or as a recreational area. An interesting detail is the lake’s function for flood-control. But what an effort it must have been to actually build an artificial lake!? I am living in a part of the world where there is an abundance of natural lakes. Something to think about.

    I have given you a free extra link, because you are the second commenter. I am giving the first three commenters free extra links until Christmas, as a sort of Christmas present.

    Thank you for visiting and commenting on my ‘I is for Inventor’-post. Since several commenters have asked, I am going to look into what it would cost for readers to purchase one or several cups through me. I will keep you posted.
    Best wishes,
    For the benefit of other readers:
    Anna’s ‘I is for Inventor’-JennyM’s AT

  21. PJ
    November 18, 2010 at 6:27 am

    Such a picturesque place! My favorite shot was #3, but they were all great!

  22. November 18, 2010 at 7:42 am

    Wow, what a gorgeous location! You are lucky to have found such an amazing place and take such beautiful photos! And those houses! Oh my! They are just so incredible! I wish I could live in a place like that!

  23. Jingle
    November 18, 2010 at 8:38 am

    This is very beautiful.

  24. November 18, 2010 at 9:11 am

    fabulous photos loved them

  25. La
    November 18, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Lake Norman is absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing this “inland sea.”

  26. November 18, 2010 at 10:00 am

    How beautiful and information. The birds and some of their nests were amazing. I have never been to NC. Maybe someday.

  27. taylorsoutback
    November 18, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Lovely images – you are enjoying Fall colors while we are watching snowflakes fall. Though Wisconsinites now, we have roots in North Carolina – my husband at Carolina-Chapel Hill and I at Elon College.
    I am new to Alphabe-Thursday and it is discovering delightful blogs like yours that add to the fun.

  28. November 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    I sometimes forget how gorgeous my home state is now that I’m a long time Floridian. What beautiful photos, and such a marvelously informative post!

  29. November 18, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Beautiful lake. Ours is much simpler but we love living on the water. I am having a giveaway and hope you will stop by. It ends Nov. 28th and has lots of goodies. Blessings, Debbie

  30. November 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    Wow… I love the pictures… and the houses is amazing!

  31. November 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Those were amazing photos! Those houses on the lake….wow! We only have one natural lake in Texas. The rest are man made. Actually, your blog is really beautiful….with many great photos. Happy “I” Thursday.

  32. November 19, 2010 at 4:00 am

    What a thorough and beautiful portrayal you did for this narrative and visual presentation of Lake Norman and all it offers to the state of North Carolina. It provides so much beauty and usable resources and you’ve described it well!

  33. November 19, 2010 at 10:51 am

    What a beautiful place! I didn’t think about you having all that fall color. My husband and I may have to check this out for a ‘someday we might retire there’ place.

    Your pictures are all lovely but I was soooo enchanted with the shoal picture.

    A peaceful and lovely beginning to Alphabe-Thursday for me this week.

    Thank you.


  34. November 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    Wow! 96 islands IN the lake! What lovely lake images you have captured and an interesting history to boot.

  35. Pondside
    November 20, 2010 at 11:54 am

    What a beautiful place. I’ve seen houses from the lake shore featured in design magazines – always quite extravagant and elegant!

  36. jo
    November 21, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    wow …. what gorgeous photos you take of this lake … some of those houses are amazing, but it’s the gorgeous birds that are really the scene stealers …

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