Lake Willoughby

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Lake Willoughby
Location Orleans County, Vermont, United States
Coordinates 44°45′07″N 72°03′46″W / 44.75194°N 72.06278°W / 44.75194; -72.06278Coordinates: 44°45′07″N 72°03′46″W / 44.75194°N 72.06278°W / 44.75194; -72.06278
Type glacial lake (ice age)
Primary inflows glacial aquifer.
Primary outflows Willoughby River (creek)
Basin countries United States
Max. length 5 miles (8.0 km)
Max. width 1 mile (1.6 km)
Surface area 1,687 acres (683 ha)
Max. depth

320 ft (98 m)

Designated: 1967

Lake Willoughby is a lake in the town of Westmore in Orleans County in the northeast section of Vermont, United States. Willoughby is a glacial lake over 320 feet (98 m) deep in places, the deepest lake entirely contained in the state and second to only Lake Champlain which deepest point reaches 426 feet (130 m).

The lake's southern end is surrounded by the Willoughby State Forest. This state park includes Mount Pisgah, Mount Hor, and Bartlett Mountain.

About 5 miles (8.0 km) long

Hydrology[edit]

The lake is known for its clarity and chilly temperature.[1] Because of its depth, it freezes later than other lakes in the Northeast Kingdom.[2]

Willoughby River[edit]

Willoughby River is the outlet from the lake and runs north to feed into the Barton River. Prior to the floods of 1927, the river had three dams. All were destroyed by the flood. An iron bridge that ran from Evansville to Brownington Center was destroyed and rebuilt.[3]

A dam where the Whetstone Dam had formerly stood, was rebuilt to run a sawmill, which was still in operation in 2008. The state Fish and Game Department bought the dam rights to allow rainbow trout to swim upriver.[4]

Geology[edit]

A view from the north end of the lake shows Mount Pisgah (left) and Mount Hor rising up above the surface.

Lake Willoughby is a southeast trending basin. It was created by glacial action and is over 300' deep in places, making it the deepest lake entirely contained in the state.[5] Lake Willoughby resembles a Norwegian fjord.

The rock between Mount Pisgah on the east and Mount Hor on the west was eroded by a valley ice lobe. This ice flow cut across the Willoughby granodiorite and adjacent metamorphic rocks. The ice flow may have exploited highly fractured bedrock along the margin of the Willoughby pluton or joint surfaces within the pluton.[6]

Mount Pisgah
Mount Hor

Natural history[edit]

Willoughby is listed as a National Natural Landmark.[7] Willoughby contains rainbow trout (wild and stocked), Lake Trout, landlocked Atlantic salmon (mainly stocked), rainbow smelt, burbot, yellow perch, longnose sucker, white sucker, lake chub, common shiner, and round whitefish which is a native species of extremely limited distribution in Vermont.

Steelhead trout (rainbow trout) are not native to the region, but were imported to Lake Memphremagog from the Pacific Northwest. They migrate up the Barton River and Willoughby River to the lake to spawn.[8]

The sheer cliffs of Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor provide an environment conducive for arctic and cliff-alpine plants, as well as ideal nesting areas for the rare peregrine falcon.[9]

More than 100 bird species have been recorded around the lake including thrushes, warblers, hummingbirds, jays, finches, loons, herons and gulls.[10]

History[edit]

Tiny steam boats operated on the lake for tourists from 1884 to the early 1900s when steam was replaced by the gasoline engine.[11]

In 1915, Robert Frost mentioned the lake in a poem, "A Servant to Servants,
"I see it's a fair, pretty sheet of water,
Our Willoughby! How did you hear of it?
I expect, though, everyone's heard of it.
In a book about ferns? Listen to that!"[12][13]

Local customs and culture[edit]

Devil's Rock, located on the Mount Pisgah side of the lake at a less than halfway point from the lake's southern beach, is a popular diving spot for daring locals and vacationers.[14] It takes its name from a painted image of a devil on the front of the rock facing out toward the lake.

Along the eastern shore, there are a series of natural waterslides that flow into Lake Willoughby.[15] In the winter, these turn into an ice wall which is used by ice climbers.[16]

Willy the Lake Monster[edit]

Similar to other lakes in the surrounding area, Willoughby has adopted its own legend of a sea monster, named Willy.[17]

Economy[edit]

Lake facilities offer swimming, hiking, and ice fishing. There is a nude beach on the lake's southern shore.[18] Route 5A runs along the lake's eastern edge.

In 2010, Yankee magazine named Willoughby as the third best lake in New England.[19]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec//waterq/planning/docs/pl_basin17.assessment_report.pdf retrieved August 9, 2007
  2. ^ Wheeler, Scott (February 2007). Good Fishermen Don't Get Old, They Become Legends. Vermont's Northland Journal. 
  3. ^ Northland Journal, November 2008, page 13, "The Flood of 1927," Ralph Swett
  4. ^ Northland Journal, November 2008, page 13, "The Flood of 1927," Ralph Swett
  5. ^ Lake Champlain is deeper at 400.3', but partly in the state of New York and the province of Quebec
  6. ^ Ebbett, Ballard. (1981). Pleistocene Glaciation at Lake Willoughby, Vermont. Vermont Geology Vol 5. 
  7. ^ Vermonter.com, Lake Willoughby - Westmore, Vermont
  8. ^ Gresser, Joseph (May 1, 2013). "Steelhead run draws crowds to Willoughby River". the Chronicle (Barton, Vermont). pp. 14A. 
  9. ^ Wildernet.com - Willoughby State Forest
  10. ^ Willoughvalle.com Spring, Summer and Fall Recreation
  11. ^ Fisher, Harriet (August 2007). "Steaming Around Willoughby". Vermont's Northland Journal: 7–10. 
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ Pollak, Sally (August 4, 2013). "Art grows in the Northeast Kingdom". The Burlington Free Press (Burlington, Vermont). pp. 1A. 
  14. ^ Barton Area Lakes and Mountains
  15. ^ http://www.northeastwaterfalls.com/waterfall.php?num=240&p=0
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ Lakelubbers.com
  18. ^ is legal in Vermont everywhere. http://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/articles/2006/08/23/law_of_nature_prevails_in_vermont/
  19. ^ "NEK establishments listed in Yankee's best of NE awards". Barton, Vermont: the Chronicle. 3 February 2010. p. 7. 

External links[edit]