Lake Wallenpaupack

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Lake Wallenpaupack
Location Pike / Wayne counties, Pennsylvania, United States
Coordinates 41°24′47″N 75°14′25″W / 41.41306°N 75.24028°W / 41.41306; -75.24028Coordinates: 41°24′47″N 75°14′25″W / 41.41306°N 75.24028°W / 41.41306; -75.24028
Type Reservoir
Primary inflows Wallenpaupack Creek[1]
Primary outflows Lackawaxen River
Basin countries United States
Max. length 13 mi (21 km)[1]
Max. width 1 mi (1.6 km)[1]
Surface area 9 sq mi (23 km2)[1]
Average depth 30 ft (9.1 m)
Max. depth 60 ft (18 m) [1]
Shore length1 52 mi (84 km)[1]
Surface elevation 1,185 ft (361 m)[1]
1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.

Lake Wallenpaupack is a freshwater lake in northeastern Pennsylvania. It is the third largest lake in Pennsylvania measuring 52 miles of shoreline, 13 miles in length, 60 feet deep at points, and has in excess of 5,700 acres of surface water. It was created in 1926 by PPL, the Pennsylvania Power & Light Company, for hydroelectric purposes as well as flood control; however, it is best known as one of several major recreational destinations in the Pocono Mountains. It is located near the borough of Hawley, and forms part of the boundary between Pike and Wayne counties.


The Lenape Indians named the area "Wallenpaupack" which means "The Stream of Swift and Slow Water." William Penn later owned the land and then deeded it to his son, who then gave it to James Wilson, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.[citation needed]

In order to create the lake, PPL constructed a dam on Wallenpaupack Creek at Wilsonville and a levee (Tafton Dike). The project took 2700 men almost two years to complete and seven months for the reservoir to fill after the dam was closed off. The land of Wilsonville and the surrounding area in the valley was purchased by PPL from about 100 owners at about $20 an acre and most of the property was razed or moved. Some houses remained, and as the valley was flooded the water was so clear that one could see the houses under the water. In all, 17 miles (27 km) of roads and utility poles were rerouted, and Purdytown cemetery[2] had to be relocated. The former town of Wilsonville now lies under the water near the dam.[3] Water travels 3.5 miles in a 13-foot diameter steel pipe (originally wood) to power two turbines which combined can generate 44 megawatts of energy. Discharge is into the Lakawaxen River, which flows into the Delaware River.

PPL managed the 3,300 acres of land around the lake until June 2015. While homeowners have access rights, they must apply for permits for things such as landscaping to installing exterior lights and cannot cut down vegetation to improve their view of lake — a provision to keep the man-made lake's shore natural looking when viewed from the water and to minimize erosion.

PPL knows every rock and tree on this shoreline, and they are very good stewards of the lake

— Jo-Ann Rose, Administrator for Palmyra Twp. in Pike County[4]

Because the lake exists to generate hydroelectic power, every spring the water level is allowed to rise to an elevation of 1,187 feet, and then during the summer and fall, becomes progressively lower until it reaches 1,180 feet. People with waterfront property move their private docks out as the water recedes. A legal point: homeowners have access rights but not privacy rights - anyone can walk along the shoreline below the high water line. Fences or other barriers are not allowed.

Ownership changes[edit]

In June 2014 PPL announced it would be divesting its electrical generation facilities.[5] Plans called for a spinoff to a newly created company Talen Energy formed from the generation assets of PPL and Riverstone Holdings.

On June 1, 2015 Talen Energy became the official owner of Wallenpaupack Hydroelectric Project generation plant and therefore control, under the FERC license, of Lake Wallenpaupack.[6]

In order to comply with a FERC regulation, on October 8, 2015 Talen Energy announced plans to sell the Lake Wallenpaupack hydroelectric project to Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners L.P of Toronto, Canada.[7] The sale was completed on April 1, 2016.[8] Brookfield maintains website information about its management of Lake Wallenpaupack.[9]


An integral part of the Lake Region of the Pocono Mountains, Lake Wallenpaupack is both a regional, as well as local, recreation attraction in the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York), and is popular with seasonal visitors from the New York City and Philadelphia areas, particularly in the summertime. The lake provides boating, swimming, and fishing access in the summer, as well as ice skating and ice fishing in the winter. A notable activity during the winter months on Lake Wallenpaupack is its annual "Ice Tee Golf Tournament", which takes place on the frozen lake. The tournament is a 9-hole competition hosted by The Chamber of Northern Poconos.[10]

Its wooded shoreline also provides opportunities for hiking and viewing wildlife, including whitetail deer and black bear. Lake fish include smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, rock bass, bluegill, walleye, muskellunge, northern pike, pickerel, rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, catfish and yellow perch. Striped bass and hybrid striped bass have been stocked in the lake. The lake is 13 miles (21 km) long, has 52 miles (84 km) of shoreline, and is about 60 feet (18 m) deep at its maximum depth.

There are four islands, all open to the public for daytime visits but no overnight camping. From east to west: Epply, Kipp, Burns and Cairns. Kipp may be closed to the public until August every year because bald eagles have established a nest site on the island, and return to it each spring.


Lake Wallenpaupack faces a number of environmental problems, including water-quality issues from heavy boat usage, algal blooms and rapid sedimentation related to agricultural runoff, and an invasion of purple loosestrife along the shores.[11] Concerted efforts to improve water quality led to the lake being removed from Pennsylvania's list of impaired waters in 2016, twenty years after having been so designated.[12] The lake is used as an educational resource to teach ecology to students of the Wallenpaupack Area School District.[13]

Popular culture[edit]

Lake Wallenpaupack was featured as a retreat location in the popular TV show The Office in the eleventh episode of the second season, titled Booze Cruise. However, the episode was not filmed on Lake Wallenpaupack. Principal filming took place in Long Beach Harbor, California.[14]

The lake is the setting of the children's book Baked Beans for Breakfast (1970; republished in 1974 as The Secret Summer) by Ruth Chew.

Cove Haven Resort, a couples-only hotel, with heart-shaped bathtubs, has been in business since 1958, and is part of the reason the Poconos are referred to as "The Honeymoon Capital of the World."


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "PPL's Wallenpaupack hydroelectric plant". Archived from the original on 2012-11-01. Retrieved 2012-06-01. 
  2. ^ "Purdytown Cemetery". Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  3. ^ Peter Becker (Jul 19, 2012). "Town Under the Lake". The News Eagle. Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ Falchek, David (June 6, 2014). "PPL pullout means uncertainty for Lake Wallenpaupack". The Times-Tribune. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ Poole, Claire (June 10, 2014). "PPL, Riverstone create Talen Energy". The Street. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  6. ^ Kraus, Scott (June 1, 2015). "Talen Energy launches Monday, sells stock Tuesday". The Morning Call. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ Kraus, Scott (October 8, 2015). "Talen Energy to sell Wallenpaupack, two other power plants". The Morning Call. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  8. ^ Kraus, Scott (2 April 2016). "Talen Energy completes power plant sales, including Lake Wallenpaupack". The Morning Call. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "24th Annual Ice Tee Golf Tournament". The Chamber of the Northern Poconos. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  11. ^[permanent dead link] "Lake Wallenpaupack Ecology Diligently Overseen" by Peter Becker, Wayne Independent, Tue Jan 29, 2008[dead link]
  12. ^
  13. ^ Wallenpaupack Area School District: Lake Wallenpaupack Office, PP&L Co. Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management Dist. F.X. Browne Inc. EDUCATION AND OUTREACH
  14. ^ Giant, M. (January 5, 2006) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 29, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-16.  Television Without Pity, Retrieved June 17, 2008

External links[edit]