We have all likely seen housing developments in which each half of each duplex is allotted approximately 100 square feet of lawn, hemmed in by concrete sidewalks. These sad tufts of lawn collectively serve more as a vehicle for the homeowner’s association to assert its authority, rather than any aesthetic purpose. What these lawns are to greenery, Quaker Lake is to waterways.
Access to the lake has apparently been contentious in recent years. In 2007 there was some dispute over the property boundaries of the state’s access point. The Quaker Lake Cottagers’ Association took full advantage of this opportunity to exclude the rabble from their idyllic status symbol. Due to legal action by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC), they were ultimately unsuccessful and public access was preserved.
The legal conflict may have been resolved, but the residual tension is still palpable. Most of the shore was conspicuously posted with NO TRESSPASSING signs, as well as signs that forbade walking along the road near the lake. As I looked around, and took a couple of pictures around the dock, there were a number of “cottagers” lounging around on their boats, decks and floats who seemed to be entirely put off by my presence. I do see their point. A lake full of garbage constitutes a tragedy of the commons of the worst sort, and you do risk that when you open something to the public. A close second where tragedy is concerned, is the destruction of a pristine shoreline by building houses and camps all along it, and the “cottagers” have managed to affect that change on their own.
The lake is crowded, and cottages are packed in around it like hogs at a trough. It’s a bit worse than Little York Lake (see Dwyer Memorial Park) in this regard, but the real difference between the two is the relative acceptance of outsiders by the residents around Little York. I suspect that the PFBC launch at Quaker Lake doesn’t get much use.
If you want to get Into the Forest, do yourself a favor, and turn around when you get to the end of the road at Quaker Lake. If you’re feeling the need to drop a rock in the pond of some folks’ pretensions, by all means take a right at the scarecrow and look for a left turn to the public landing about a half mile down.
NB: You need a boat launch permit to use water wings in Pennsylvania. One can be obtained from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission at: http://www.fish.state.pa.us/brag/aa_usepermits.htm. At Quaker Lake there are many signs stating the need for a proper registration. I contacted the PFBC, and confirmed that a boat launch permit is adequate for canoes and kayaks. Please check on this yourself, as the rules are subject to change.
|Google Map:||Quaker Lake|
|PA FBC:||Press Release on Legal Action|