Green

Roxbury Left Holding the Weeds from a 19th Century Steamboater Battle

Lily pads and other weeds are choking the man-made Landing Channel of Lake Hopatcong in Roxbury
The scene recently at Landing Channel

ROXBURY, N.J. - A decision by a competitive 19th Century Lake Hopatcong entrepreneur is now a problem for local officials. 

In the 1890s, the operators of the Morris Canal and the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railway had a lock on steamboat operations on the big lake, according to historians including Marty Kane and an entry on Landingnewjersey.com. 

Their Lake Hopatcong Steamboat Company's "Black Line" boats gathered tourists from the train station in Landing and - using the Morris Canal to access the lake - carried them to their lakeside destinations. 

Sign Up for E-News

The Black Line made it tough for a competing steamboat company, called the "White Line," operated by Theodore King's Hopatcong Steamboat company, said the historians. It taxed the use of its waterway, making it tough for White Line steamboats to compete for the people arriving at the train station. 

King began using smaller boats that could operate in shallow water and didn't need the deep waterway. He'd use these to pick up passengers near the Landing Road bridge and take them to deeper water, where his White Line steamships were waiting, according to history buffs. 

To put an end to that – and showing how much clout they had back then - the Black Line people drained some water out of Lake Hoptacong, a move that turned to mudflats the shallows being used by the White Line's shuttle boats. 

Undaunted, King dredged the muck. It was a move that created the so-called Landing Channel and one that brings us to today's problem: Landing Channel wants to go back to being mud. 

"This is not a natural part of Lake Hopatcong," said Kane, who is chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation Board of Directors. "It was originaly wetlands. It was dredged out to create Landing Channel so they could send steamboats up to get people off the train." 

You can fool Mother Nature only so long. The man-made Landing Channel, deep enough for a White Line shuttle boat, is still shallow enough to allow sunlight to reach the bottom. That means plants can thrive there and, when they die, they steadily add layers of muck to the bottom. 

"Since it is not a natural part of Lake Hopatcong, it wants to go back to what it was originally," Kane said. "If you don’t stay on it, it will go back." 

"Staying on it" means somehow getting rid of the plants and muck.  The Lake Hopatcong Foundation has found a contractor willing to remove the weeds and muck, but getting that stuff out of the lake doesn't solve the problem; it needs to be taken somewhere. 

Roxbury officials and the foundation are hoping to find an affordable solution to that problem. The least costly option would be to have the weeds and muck spread out on a part of Lake Hopatcong State Park, they said. Other options would involve trucking the stuff away, a proposal that would prove too costly. 

Before a final resting place can be found, the material needs to be analyzed to ensure it doesn't contain anything toxic. These tests are underway. 

"Everybody is working  it hard," Kane said. "Everybody wants to have material tested just to make sure. It was sent out and we are waiting for results to come back. I don’t expect any problems because it has been tested in the past. 
Roxbury Township Manager Christopher Raths said the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has agreed that the weeds and muck can be temporarily laid out at the state park to allow the material to dry out. Drying the material significantly reduces its weight and, therefore, the cost to truck it away. 

But Raths said nothing will be dredged or dried until a final resting place for the stuff is found. He said the project might have to be postponed until the spring because, so far, such a place hasn't been secured.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

Roxbury

Roxbury Activities

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_5924ebda614f0caa31d3_handshake-2056023_1920

Wed, March 29, 5:30 PM

Roxbury PAC: Investors Bank Theater, Succasunna

Evening Networking Event

Business & Finance

Carousel_image_cdb9f26d658dc93bbdf5_stl

Wed, March 29, 5:30 PM

Standard Tile of Roxbury, Succasunna

Laticrete Live Demo at Standard Tile of Roxbury

Home & Garden

Thu, March 30, 6:30 PM

Roxbury Public Library, Succasunna

Roxbury Public Library Town Meeting – We Want to ...

Government Other

Carousel_image_760ebba0c8a0698ae348_lhf

Fri, March 31, 5:00 PM

Glassers Seafood & Steakhouse , Lake Hopatcong

Lake Hopatcong Foundation Night Out at Glassers ...

Food & Drink Giving Back

Roxbury Real Estate

Roxbury Businesses

Columnists

Spring Clean Your Ride

Spring is the perfect time to refresh and renew your vehicle.  As the winter weather ends here are a few car care tips that can make that long awaited spring drive much more enjoyable.

Wash the car.  Your car has been conquering salty roads and potholed terrain, so a driveway washing just isn’t going to cut it this time.  I strongly suggest you take your car to a ...

In Your Community

Atlantic Health System Joins American Cancer Society in Fight Against Colorectal Cancer

Atlantic Health System (AHS), a leading health care delivery network, announced today the organization’s commitment to increase colorectal cancer screening in New Jersey by joining "80 percent by 2018" - a national effort of the American Cancer Society in the fight against the disease. 

Colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women.

$359 Million to be Spent in 2017 in Jersey Central Power & Light Service Area to Strengthen Electric System

As part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen the durability and flexibility of its electric transmission and distribution systems, Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) plans to invest  $359 million during 2017 on infrastructure projects and other work to enhance reliability across its 13 county northern and central New Jersey service area.  

Major projects scheduled for 2017 ...

Roxbury Deaths

Obituaries

- Feb 21, 2017
ROXBURY, NJ -  Douglas Bruce Spencer, 71, of Succasunna, died Feb 21, 2017 at the Merry ...
Read more
Mrs. Jean A Kautzmann, 79, passed away Feb. 6, 2017 at St. Clare’s Hospital in Dover ...
Read more
Dr. Edward S. Gates, 92, of Rockaway Township, died on Oct. 29, 2016.  Born in 1924 in ...
Read more

Press Releases

Upcoming Spring and Summer Programs Through Roxbury Community School

March 26, 2017

ROXBURY, NJ - The Roxbury Community School spring and summer programs continue with camps and classes for little kids, big kids, and adults too.

Spring break camps and summer programs are open to everyone.

Spring Break Camps for Children

Mad Science Spring Break – Join Mad Science to create and imagine some fun and exciting adventures in science! Discover potential ...

Roxbury Companies

It Began With Filling Your Tank; Now They Fix Your Grandson’s Car

When we drive east on Route 10 through Roxbury, many of us might remember a Shell station at the Randolph border next to the golf range. It was in that station that Nancy and Peyton Knight began their long history of auto repair in the township.

That was 1983 and soon the Knights’ business grew and expanded. The humble gas station gradually morphed into a state-of-the-art ...