Reelfoot Lake is a shallow natural lake located in the northwest portion of state of Tennessee. Much of it is more of a swamp, with bayou-like areas which connect to more open bodies of water called basins.Lake is noted for its bald cypress trees and its nesting pairs of bald eagles.
Public use of the lake and grounds has been preserved since it was acquired by the state of Tennessee in the early 1900s and the area was established as Reelfoot Lake State Park. In 1966, Reelfoot Lake was designated as a national natural landmark by the National Park Service.
According to the US Geological Survey, Reelfoot Lake was formed in northwestern Tennessee when that area was hit with earthquakes on the New Madrid fault, which were centered around New Madrid, Missouri.The earthquakes resulted in several major changes in the landforms over a widespread area, with shocks being felt as far away as Quebec, Canada.
According to legend, the Reelfoot River, which gave its name to the lake, is said to be named for an Indian chief who had a deformed foot and was nicknamed "Reelfoot" by settlers in the early 19th century. A Chickasaw legend states that the name originated from a prince of a Chickasaw tribe inhabiting the present West Tennessee, who was born with a deformed foot and walked with a rolling motion, so was nicknamed Kolopin, meaning Reelfoot. When he became chief, Reelfoot determined to marry a Choctaw princess, but her father would not permit it. The Great Spirit warned Reelfoot that if he attempted to kidnap the maiden, his village and his people would be destroyed. Reelfoot disobeyed the Spirit, and seized the princess by force and carried her to Chickasaw territory, where he arranged a marriage ceremony.
In the middle of the ceremony, the Great Spirit stamped his foot in anger, causing the earth to quake, and the Father of the Waters raised the Mississippi River over its banks, inundating Reelfoot's homeland. The water flowed into the imprint left by the Spirit's foot, forming a beautiful lake, beneath which Reelfoot, his bride, and his people lie buried. Though the legend is about the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes that once inhabited the area, these tribes left around the early 14th century, reserving this area as hunting grounds.
Reelfoot Lake currently covers 15,000 acres, with a maximum depth of 18 feet and an average depth of 5.5 feet. It is the only large natural lake in Tennessee. Lake County, Tennessee, in which it is located, was named for it. Until 2003, Reelfoot was the world's only legal commercial fishery for crappie, a species of sunfish. It was served in restaurants near the shore. The area is popular for recreational boating, fishing, and waterfowl hunting.
I have always thought one day I will ride that way and check out the eagles.
Hope you enjoyed a site into our earthquake lake.