Summersville Dam is located on the Gauley River near the town of Summersville in Nicholas County, West Virginia. Summersville Lake is the largest lake in West Virginia at 2,790 acres with 60 miles of shoreline and controls 803 square miles of drainage area. A rock-fill type earth dam gives the impression that nature, not man, planned and placed it. The dam is 390 feet high and 2,280 feet long making it the second largest dam of this type in the eastern United States. The water is released through a 1,555-foot long, 29 foot diameter tunnel controlled at the lower end by three 9-foot diameter valves. In 2001 an 80 megawatt Hydropower plant was added to the below dam area.The Dam construction began in 1960 and was completed in 1966 at a cost of 48 million dollars. By the end of 1974, it had paid for itself by preventing flood damages in the Gauley and Kanawha river basins areas at almost 67 million dollars. Today, that figure has grown to over $743 million. Summerville Lake is a major recreation destination, attracting nearly 1 million visitors annually. The Lake offers many recreational opportunities including a campground, beach, picnic shelters, playgrounds, boat launch, marina, hiking trails, rock climbing, fishing and hunting opportunities and some of the most scenic views in the country.