Archive for the 'Pennsylvania' Category

Quaker Lake Public Boat Launch (Silver Lake, PA)

parking area at quaker lake public boat access

completely empty parking area at quaker lake public boat access

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.

shore of quaker lake near the pfbc access point

shore of quaker lake near the pfbc access point

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.

the end of quaker lake road in silver lake, pa

the bend in quaker lake road

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.

Links:

Google Map: Quaker Lake
PA FBC: Press Release on Legal Action

Stump Pond Public Boat Launch (New Milford, PA)

pfbc sign at the edge of stump pond

pfbc sign at the edge of stump pond

When I got to Stump Pond, I couldn’t stop laughing for about ten minutes. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has thoughtfully erected a sign to mark a small parking area, but also to prevent passersby from accidentally trying to walk across the pond. Approximately 95% of the water surface is completely covered by lily pads. Funnier still, were the signs prohibiting the use of combustion engine-driven boats, and warning against the inadvertent transfer of invasive plant species to the pond. I could imagine an airboat traversing the water here, but any propeller below the waterline would be a Salad Shooter in short order. Where invasive species are concerned, I’m hard pressed to believe that anything could out-compete what’s already in there.

a squirrel could run across stump pond without getting wet

a squirrel could run across stump pond without getting wet

The pond may be aesthetically disadvantaged, and from a paddling perspective it is, but that doesn’t mean that it’s uninhabitable. The water itself is fairly clear, though someone must be dumping gallons of fertilizer in there to promote such aggressive plant growth. As I walked along the bank, bushels of frogs were comically springing into the water with every vibration. A blue heron was eating something, and I did see several fish (or snakes, or crocodiles) break the surface of the water as I sat by the edge. There might be incredible fishing in that mess, but, lacking a Pennsylvania license, I didn’t test the weedy waters.

best view of stump pond

best view of stump pond

But for its close proximity to a moderately well-traveled roadway, Stump Pond might give you the feeling of having gone Into the Forest, but not in a good way. It might be worth the trip if you enjoy roadside shore fishing, but I’m not even convinced of that.

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.

 

Links:

Google Map: Stump Pond