LAKE HOPATCONG — Nearly 40,000 times over the course of two weeks, supporters of Lake Hopatcong took a few seconds to “click” on a website on behalf of New Jersey’s largest lake. Because of that support, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation was named a winner of a BoatUS Grassroots Grant, with which the nonprofit organization will have the funds to create a “Lake Hopatcong Guide” map, which will include information about water depth, lake access points, and—most notably—information about pump-out stations and high-risk invasive species.
“We are hopeful that with the wide distribution of this map, locals will know how to spot these invasive species, and visitors will know how to properly prepare and clean their boat when entering, using, and leaving Lake Hopatcong,” said Lake Hopatcong Foundation president Jessica K. Murphy. The BoatUS grant will allow the LHF to print 10,000 copies of this map on durable, synthetic paper, and distribute at lake access points all around the lake’s 45 miles of shoreline.
Murphy said the foundation, which was established in 2012 and has a staff of three, was astounded at the level of support from the community. “We were absolutely blown away by how much enthusiasm and passion emerged through this voting process,” she said. “Although we knew people loved this lake, we were amazed by how much support we received throughout the four towns around the lake—Roxbury, Jefferson, Hopatcong, and Mt. Arlington—as well as both counties and throughout the state, and beyond! It was absolutely inspiring, and gives us so much hope as we move forward on projects to support this amazing natural and recreational resource.”
The map guide will be created from the Morris County Park Commission Sportsman’s Map of Lake Hopatcong. Dave Helmer, Executive Director of the Park Commission, said the park commission “applauds the Lake Hopatcong Foundation’s receipt of this BoatUS Grant and its passionate efforts to continue to raise awareness about the lake’s importance to the local residents and regional boating and water sport community.”
In addition to the Lake Hopatcong Foundation, the other winners include the Lake George Association in New York, the Chesapeake Conservancy in Maryland, and Kandiyohi County in Minnesota.
Lake Hopatcong is New Jersey’s largest lake, and thousands of boaters use the lake every boating season, including many who come from other bodies of water. This project will help protect the lake from being taken over by aggressive invasive species, and ensure the lake remains a beautiful and fun destination for many generations. The foundation hopes to have the maps ready for distribution this summer.
The Lake Hopatcong Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that was established in 2012 with a mission of improving Lake Hopatcong for all, now and in the years to come. To learn more, visit lakehopatcongfoundation.org.
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating. Funded primarily by donations from the over half-million members of Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the non-profit provides innovative educational outreach directly to boaters and anglers with the aim of reducing accidents and fatalities, increasing stewardship of America's waterways and keeping boating safe for all. A range of boating safety courses – including 33 free state courses – can be found at BoatUS.org/courses.