Where is Lake Buel located?
What’s a good source for information about Lake Buel?
The Wikipedia article is quite informative. For a more in-depth review of the lake’s history, “Gibson’s Grove and Turner’s Landing: Lake Buel’s Century as a Summer Resort” by Bernard Drew (Attic Revivals Press 2009) is an excellent source.
The Internet Archive has made available online an 1886 book called the Book of Berkshire that has some charming drawings and commentary, although only a few lines about Lake Buel specifically (on page 194):
Lake Buel, six miles distant, is a beautiful sheet of water, lying a few rods beyond the eastern boundary of the town, to which thousands of people go every summer. Accommodations for the public are sufficient in the way of boats, picnic grounds, horse feeding, and so on, at both ends of the lake. The name of the lake is from Samuel Buel, who, July 23, 1812, saved from drowning four of seven persons whose boat was capsized. This is one of the most frequented lake resorts in Berkshire, and several people go so far as to have small cottages for a few weeks’ residence there.
Is Lake Buel open to the public?
Yes. It is a Great Pond owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts but the land around the lake is privately owned by residents. There is a public boat launch on the northwest shore off Route 57.
Where I can learn more about the Massachusetts legislative Act that created the Lake Buel Restoration/Preservation District?
Here is a link to the State Library of Massachusetts act that created the District in 1985.
What was the reason for creating a special purpose tax District?
The District was created in order to raise taxes to be used for restoring the lake to pristine condition (i.e., to combat aquatic invasives such as the European milfoil) and preserve it for recreational enjoyment.
Do I have to pay special taxes if I own property on or near the Lake?
Yes. You are legally responsible for paying the District taxes as well as property taxes to the town in which you reside (Monterey or New Marlborough) if the deed to your property includes a right of way to the Lake or if you own waterfront property. A deeded right of way to the lake cannot be removed from your deed, nor can a right of way be added.
How big is Lake Buel?
196 acres, and 1.25 miles long between the two furthest points. The depth at the western bowl is approximately 42 feet, and approximately 38 feet at the eastern bowl. The middle between the bowls is about 15 feet deep.
Fun fact: At its edges, the Lake can be one inch deep or less.
What fish are in the Lake? What wildlife?
See the Wildlife page of this blog.
Where does the water come from?
The Lake is largely spring fed, but it is also a catch basin for the greater Hoosic River watershed, which is why flooding occurs periodically. When the Konkapot River swells during a storm, the level of the river rises above the normal level of the lake and backflows into the lake.
How is the level of the lake maintained?
A “water control structure” at the eastern end of the Lake and beaver dams in the outlet control the water level. The District manages both the dams. However, there are times during heavy storms when the water will rise beyond our control.
I am concerned about the water level. How do I raise or lower the water control structure at the end of the lake?
You should NEVER attempt to make changes to the water control structure. The District is responsible for managing the structure. Contact Paula Hatch, the chairperson of the Prudential Committee, with your concerns.
How clean is the water?
Very. We’re proud that over the years, we have maintained and even improved the quality of the water.
How about milfoil?
The Lake was invaded by Eurasian Milfoil [wikipedia] in the 1970s. This is a non-native species of lake weed that can wreak havoc on an ecosystem. The District has successfully controlled the milfoil by continuous mechanical harvesting and thereby greatly reducing phosphate loading. We have never used chemicals, as other lakes have.
How about Zebra Mussels?
A common inference made by scientists predicts that the zebra mussel will continue spreading passively, by ship and by pleasure craft, to more rivers in North America. Trailered boat traffic is the most likely vector for invasion into the North American west and eventually into Lake Buel. This spread is preventable if boaters would take time to thoroughly clean and dry their boats and associated equipment before transporting these to new bodies of water. Since no North American predator or combination of predators has been shown to significantly reduce zebra mussel numbers, such spread would most likely result in permanent establishment of zebra mussels in many North American waterways. Lake Buel offers a perfect habitat for zebra mussels, unfortunately, so boater education and extreme diligence by all users of the Lake is necessary to help thwart the establishment of the zebra mussel in Lake Buel.
Is the Lake in Great Barrington?
The shore line is in the towns of New Marlborough and Monterey. There are some homes that are given the Great Barrington zip codes because there’s no rural delivery.
What camps are on the Lake?
From 1921 until 1970, Camp To-Ho-Ne was a boy’s camp, owned and run by Peter and Sarah Menaker. Enge Menaker ran the Guest Camp adjacent to the camp, where adults came to stay in cabins and join in meals in the lodge.
How do I become a blogger for this site?
How’s cell phone reception at the Lake?
There’s an AT&T tower that provides service to much of the Lake.
Is there really an “Indian wall”?
Yes, there is a substantial underwater stone wall across the western bowl, about fifteen feet wide, and from four to five feet below the surface (depending on the water level). It’s believed that the local native Americans built it as an irrigation system, damming off part of the Lake.
Who have been some of the famous people who have spent time at the Lake?
- Roy Lichtenstein, summered as a child in the 1920s at Lake Buel.
- Alan Ford, honeymooned at Littlecrest in 1945.
- Lud Gluskin, summered on the northwest side of the lake.
- Walt Kuhn, maintained a summer studio on the lake from 1940 to 1942.
- Ted Mack, ran a summer camp, 1957 to 1958.
- Tom Waddell, who competed in the Decathalon in the 1968 Olympics, and who founded the Gay Games, was a frequent visitor until his death in 1987.
- Jim Palmer, pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, went to Camp Half Moon
How do I add a photo to the list on the front page?
The vertical list of photos on the right side is compiled automatically from photos tagged as “lake” and “buel” at Flickr.com. So, if you want your photo to show up on the front page, you have to post a photo to your account at Flickr and give it those two tags. That’s it!
Unfortunately, this means you have to have an account at Flickr. The accounts are free.
And of course please keep the photos family-friendly, respectful of other people’s privacy, and fun. Thanks!
How do I recommend a question for inclusion in the FAQ’s?
Send your request to one of the site administrators: Paula Hatch, Ginny Hyde, Chuck Pierce, or David Weinberger. If you know the answer but want to share the information with others, that’s even better!