Lake association bands together to clean up park

After a wet season, the Wenonah Lake Association is coming together to clean up the lake, in hopes of keeping it from being permanently closed.

Conditions at Wenonah Lake have been ‘hazardous’ due to poor drainage and a rainy season. (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

The Wenonah Lake Association, a nonprofit, is stepping up to keep the recreational area, which includes one of the few remaining swimming lakes in Gloucester County, open after drainage issues arose in the past two years.

It’s been wet for two years, but other than that, there’s been no work done to address the lack of drainage here,” said Duke Braun, president of the lake association. “What you get is ankle-deep mud. It’s been pretty bad, and it’s starting to dry out.

He said cloths, which keep most dirt from seeping in, surrounding the previous pipes caused water to not enter inside the pipes and created a wetland in the grassy portions of the park.

“Back towards the swings, there’s mosquitoes all around it,” he said. “Even if they left it, it would be a terrible breeding ground for mosquitoes and it would ruin everyone’s time here.”

Braun said the association was given the green light by the borough, which has owned the property since 1999, to continue with the clean-up process before the start of the summer season (May 27). He went on to add the borough wasn’t able to do the project largely due to time constraints and it couldn’t pull public works employees from their projects, to the lake.

“[The lake has] been closed for construction, but there’s no way to have kids here. You can’t walk under the monkey bars or swings without sinking into the ground past your ankles. Imagine a bunch of kids running around,” Braun said.

The lake closes from Labor Day until Memorial Day for all swimming activities, and is turned into a makeshift dog park, which Braun added helps deter geese.

“Geese come here and make a mess,” he said. “…The water has to be tested each week for swimming, and if the geese are here often, it will affect swimming.”

He said the association received a surge of donations, both monetary and equipment, to make necessary repairs to the park. Braun said they hope to update the playground equipment next year through a grant.

To date, Braun said the association has been able to replace most of the plastic drainage pipes, and will work begin soon with an aspiring Eagle Scout from Gateway Regional constructing a perimeter and placing mulch within the playground.

“Digging trenches isn’t fun and no one wants to do it, but we’ve been fortunate to have machines trench and dig things out,” said Braun. “The idea is to get a trench around the playground perimeter and get piping installed.”

“People come here every summer and they have memberships,” said Braun. “To not have all of this accessible to the kids and families here is kind of silly.”

He hopes to have everything up and running by Memorial Day and the June 1 open house.

Those wishing to volunteer, buy a membership or donate funds can contact Braun at Info@WenonahLake.org.