Sunday, September 11, 2016

Moon Lake: Partially Abandoned County Park

Moon Lake is lovely mishmash of natural beauty and urban decay.  The lake and forest   were once a county park, meaning it was similar to a state or national park in that I providing hiking trails, camping amid the forest and boating and fishing on the mystical sounding Moon Lake. During its run as a county park the facilities included a swimming pool, picnic pavilions, basketball and tennis courts, as well as an education center and marina. 

The park was a popular, wonderful place to spend the day or weekend enjoying nature.  In fact, my parents chose the pool with its attached picnic pavilion for my twelfth birthday party.  However, due to budget cuts the county voted to first close the pool and other facilities and then to transfer ownership of the entire park to the state in 2015. The park is now maintained by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Bureau of Forestry.
They still permit hiking, boating and fishing, but have not reopened any of the buildings.  There are porta o pottties set up at the marina and the remote control plane air field, which is still actively used by the local club.  The remaining buildings are rumored to be scheduled for demolition

The marina 

laundry mat

What’s left now is an odd, wonderful mix of hiking through nature and abandoned ruins.  It’s strange to have the chance to do both in the same location. It’s sad seeing the pool I had splashed around in with my friends filled with putrid water and the pavilion we ate frozen yogurt bars in splashed with graffiti. 

 Sadder still was the education center.  The windows are broken and aside from graffiti it is littered with the scattered contents of desks and other displays.   It’s a shame that the literature was not donated to schools instead of being left behind. It’s a further shame that people felt the need to destroy rather than just explore.

So, while Moon Lake is not abandoned in the traditional sense, that feeling is prevalent throughout.  While it’s no longer a county park, you can still enjoy nature.  I enjoyed my time there even though it was tinged with sadness over what it’s become. Not to say that the DCNR is to blame. They were given the property but not necessarily the funds. I hope they can refurbish at least the pool and some of the buildings. 

The main office and the old basketball court 

Large old house by the lake, perhaps used for camping or park employees.

Even in its current state, Moon Lake is well worth a visit. Perhaps if enough people hike, fish and boat, more funds can be generated for the upkeep of the park. I wonder if the DCNR takes donations. At any rate, I hope you enjoyed this blog and the pictures.

On the porch of the house

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