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Remember: Muhlenberg Lake: I'm on a Boat

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Muhlenberg Lake: I'm on a Boat

As one of the major projects of the WPA, Muhlenberg Lake has been the focal point of Cedar Beach Parkway for almost eighty years. On Saturday afternoon I was able to do something I had not done since I was a child. I went for a paddle boat ride on the lake.

I have heard people sarcastically remark that our lake is more of a pond and before I even began my excursion I learned that there is a significant amount of truth to those remarks. Being a nervous man, and not knowing the depth of the water (I have always been curious), I asked the lady at the boat rental about what actions should be taken if I fell off the boat. She replied: “Stand Up.”

With the din of Sportsfest behind us, my brother and I set forth on the open waters.

There has not been a more beautiful July afternoon than the one I spent on the water. In a summer month so typically defined by soupy humidity and excessive heat; a cool breeze blew across the water and they sky was blue, not the yellow or gray that our summers are typically defined by.

Looking down from the sides of our blue vessel, I could easily see the bottom of the “lake”. Closest to the entrance of Cedar Creek the water is barely a foot deep due to a large sediment build up. At this point, I began to wonder whether or not a significant flood would accumulate enough sediment to eliminate half of the “lake”.

Paddling up into the cove near the land bridge, the water grows very stagnant. I was worried about paddling aground so we did not venture very far in. There was a time, when I was younger, that Muhlenberg “lake” was a hot spot for geese and ducks. In recent years, there have been efforts to decrease the population of waterfowl and it looks as if those efforts were very successful. There were still some geese and ducks present however. (I was glad to see them)

Keeping an eye to the “lake” floor, I began to wonder about the future of our “lake”. It is apparent to an amateur environmental awareness that this body of water is in sad shape. I know that at the tail end of the Cedar Beach Parkway renovations that Muhlenberg “lake” is going to be addressed. I hope that plans to remove the land bridge come true and proper circulation can be achieved through this method.

It would appear that the “lake” might have to be dredged due to years of sediment build up and poor circulation. If that option is to be considered I would guess that it would be very costly. It would seem to me that the future of this water body is very much up in the air. Without question, something needs to be done.

This is a beautiful landmark of our city. We cannot forget it.

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Blogger Red-Hot American Justice said...

i never thought that you'd be on a boat

July 19, 2009 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

I was going to embed the video but it is far too nsfw for my blog.

July 19, 2009 at 12:14 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

i remember when they built the land bridge to accommodate a paddle boat concession in the mid 70's., a recreation idea. those wpa guys in the 1930's are a hard act to follow, which made us one of the premier park systems in the country. the opposition by myself and others to current plans is largely based on seeing iconic features neglected (such as the lake) while planning new novelties.
thanks for this report on the lake and your other expeditions.

July 19, 2009 at 7:30 PM  
Blogger Joyce Marin said...


With your research, have you ever thought of joining the "Friends of the Allentown Parks?"

A swing by the Allentown Environmental Advisory Committee that meets monthly in city hall might also be a way to bring your observations and ideas forward.

July 22, 2009 at 7:35 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

I actually am a member Joyce. I should check out one of those EAC meetings though.

July 22, 2009 at 9:38 AM  

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