Automobiles and vans – one of many latter carrying two stand-up paddle-boards – streamed by our parking spot. Two mountain bikers rode previous, having missed the path entrance simply off the Plank Street bridge.
That Quemahoning Dam Street was busy was not shocking. This was a lovely Sunday afternoon throughout Labor Day weekend, and this highway results in mountain-bike trails, boat put-ins, swimming, picnic shelters, campsites, recreation fields and onshore fishing spots.
My spouse and I have been there to bicycle that very same highway, which wraps round half of Quemahoning Lake. Quickly we have been having fun with lakeside views and sharing greetings with people we encountered alongside the way in which.
As we rode, it occurred to me that I’ve been having fun with this lake for about 40 years.
In the event you do the mathematics and know the native historical past, you’ll guess appropriately that my visits to the Que precede the time when this lake went public across the 12 months 2000. Earlier than then, I used to be certainly one of many fishers who trespassed there through the days when the reservoir was owned by Bethlehem Metal Company.
Again within the early and mid-Nineteen Eighties, Bethlehem Metal was imploding and had many considerations far bigger than chasing fishers from the banks of an industrial reservoir. Whereas standing on the shore and watching our fishing traces, we might speculate about how good it might be if the Que went into public possession.
Quick-forward to the brand new millennium, and our dream grew to become actuality. The lake and surrounding 3,200 acres of watershed have been bought to the Cambria Somerset Authority, which nonetheless owns and operates the useful resource in the present day.
Frankly, as fishers our goals have been reasonably restricted to boating the Que’s waters and fishing the lake freely. By means of good administration and quite a lot of efficient partnerships with different organizations, the CSA has turned the Que right into a recreation vacation spot for folks with a much wider array of pursuits.
My thoughts swims with private recollections:
I’ve been deep within the bowels of the Quemahoning Dam itself, a valve put in to launch water in adequate portions to feed rapids and coldwater fisheries downstream. I’ve participated in Benscreek Canoe Membership “full-moon paddles” on the lake, when lovers adorned their boats with gentle strings, then gathered round fires for picnics afterward.
The Laurel Highlands On- and Off-Street Bicycle Affiliation (LHORBA) has made the Que a middle for roadies and mountain bikers. Organized road-bike rides, starting and ending on the Que, have been a weekly exercise of mine for a number of years.
I participated in a few work days with LHORBA mountain bikers, establishing a 17-mile path across the lake. Since its completion I’ve biked and cross-country skied on that new path.
My church’s members have picnicked yearly lately at Quemahoning shelters. I’ve camped with associates there. I’ve paddled the lake’s backwaters numerous instances often with my spouse and neighbors and, final 12 months, my brothers.
A buddy and I as soon as had a memorable outing the place we rode our bikes on previous Que hillside logging roads solely to wind up misplaced as darkness fell. Approximating our automobile’s location from seen lights, we shouldered our bicycles and bushwhacked down the lengthy, rugged hill via brush and briars to get there.
The Que has hosted nature reveals and concrete canoe races that I’ve skilled. and I’ve listened to gospel music drifting out to my kayak from the Christian summer season camp that operates on certainly one of its shores. So many recollections over 40 years!
One factor I haven’t achieved for the reason that Que grew to become public is to fish it legally. Which is ironic as a result of the CSA and fishing teams have made this lake a way more productive fishery than it was again within the Nineteen Eighties.
However I’ve drifted away from the exercise that first launched me to this stunning lake. The chums with whom I fished have handed on – besides once I return to my Quemahoning recollections.