Lake Malone State Park giant sculptures invite visitors to be active and get healthy
They are called the Big Twigs, because that’s exactly what they are—three larger-than-life 14- to 17-foot tall, wood-like sculptures.
The Big Twigs at Lake Malone State Park, Dunmor, was the idea of the Muhlenberg County Tourism Commission. Treasurer Logan Porter says, “We wanted to make our state park more visitor friendly, get additional visitors to the park. We have lots of campers, but a lot of people do not utilize the park for day use.”
He says, “The goal was to bring more people to the community for tourism, shopping and eating at our restaurants. We also wanted to bring the arts to Muhlenberg County in a unique way and to encourage our citizens to get healthy by using the walking trails and exercising.”
Porter says they wanted the Malone brothers depicting activities you could do in the park. Camper Happy Malone, a short way down on the Laurel Trail, makes s’mores at his campsite. Bobber Malone fishes as he watches activity on the lake. Oakley Malone, a 17-foot hiker is named for the strong oak trees around the lake, stands at a trailhead, which is viewable from your car and accessible near the main parking lot.
You can sit or stand on the Big Twigs, but children are asked not to climb on them.
Muhlenburg County Tourism, which kicked off the project last May, partnered with Brainchild Creative LLC’s artist Steve Brauch of Sevierville, Tennessee, Porter says, “He has done two others of these creatures, one in Gatlingburg and another in Colorado.” Brauch does a lot of the fiberglass installation work visitors see in Gatlinburg.
Porter says doing the project during the pandemic turned out to be the perfect time. Brauch built the Big Twigs in his shop and installed them over two days at Lake Malone State Park in August 2021. Since their installation, Porter says park visitation has increased tremendously, averaging 3,000 vehicles monthly. Last October, the park had 6,000 vehicles. “Our goal was 10,000 the first year, and we’ve well gone over that,” he says.
Park Manager Teresa Wells says, “We are excited to have the Big Twigs call Lake Malone State Park their home. We look forward to all the opportunities for interpretational programming that they will bring.”
The sculptures were funded by a grant from the Felix E. Martin Jr. Foundation, along with matching donations from Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital and Old National Bank.
“We extend a special thanks go to the Friends of Lake Malone State Park for keeping the trails clean and clear for our visitors.”
Lake Malone State Park offers a 788-acre lake and 200-plus acre park, served by Pennyrile Electric co-op. The park offers camping, well-maintained hiking trails, fishing, boating, swimming, picnicking and playgrounds. There’s a boat dock, picnic shelters, a playground, a beach during the summer season and tons of green space perfect for flying a kite. Anglers can enjoy catching channel catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill and sunfish. Campers can choose from 34 primitive tent campsites or 25 campsites with electric and water hookup. A central service building in the campground offers showers, rest rooms, and a laundry; and for completed camping convenience, campsites have grills and picnic tables. Pets are allowed if restrained.
Lake Malone State Park and the Big Twigs are free to visit and open from dawn to dusk, March 11 to November 15 for the 2022 season.
Lake Malone State Park
331 State Route 8001