Butler County's Glade Run Lake was drained in the summer of 2011 after the PA Department of Environmental Protection declared the lake's dam unsafe.
Initial reactions of loss and anger by those who loved the lake were quickly channeled into finding constructive solutions to restoring the lake as soon as possible.
Glade Run Lake is located 1/4 mile south of Route 228 off Overbrook Road in Middlesex Township, just 20 to 30 minutes from Butler, Cranberry, Zelienople, Allison Park, Saxonburg, Wexford, Richland, Pine, Gibsonia, and 45 minutes from Pittsburgh.
It was a 52-acre wooded lake managed by the PA Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) for fishing and boating. A fishing pier provided handicapped access for fishing. The lake was stocked with trout and was part of the Big Bass Program.
It was home to many species of birds, including Great Blue Heron, migratory birds and egrets, reptiles, amphibian species, beavers and other small aquatic mammals.
The lake was visited by 16,000 people per year and was estimated by PFBC to bring $1.2 million annually to the local economy.
It was an unspoiled natural treasure where people would go to fish and teach their kids about outdoor skills and recreation. Glade Run Lake was a pristine area of natural beauty where the public could hike, paddle kayaks/canoes, picnic, watch birds and other wildlife, and sled or ice-skate in the winter. Small boats could be moored there.
Local EMS used the lake for training. Many groups used the area for learning about boating, fishing, geocaching and other outdoor activities. Scout groups used it as a meeting area. Veterans in rehab visited as a place to find solace.
A petition with 2,000 signatures representing 20 counties and several states was presented to Gov. Tom Corbett in April 2012. This lake is not just a local, but a regional asset that needs to be preserved and restored for current and future generations.
Why Grassroots Help Is Important
When Glade Run Lake was drained it joined a list of 19 Pennsylvania lakes compromised by high hazard dams. These lakes are owned by the Commonwealth and managed by the Fish and Boat Commission.
PFBC receives no funding from the state budget and operates exclusively with funds received from the sale of fishing licenses and boating permits. Eight of these projects are currently unfunded with total funding estimates of $55 million. The estimate for reconstructing the dam at Glade Run Lake is currently $4.3 million. Removal of silt will be an added cost.
PFBC clearly cannot restore Glade Run Lake on its own.
Glade Run Lake Conservancy (GRLC)
The leaders of nonprofits that were successful in restoring Opossum and Leaser Lakes were consulted and Glade Run Lake Conservancy was organized.
GRLC is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to work with the PFBC to raise the funds needed to restore Glade Run Lake through fundraising, donations, grants, appeals to local and state government, local businesses, large corporations and other organizations.
GRLC's nonprofit 501(c)3 status was granted in September 2012. In the seven months since GRLC was launched, 1,300 members have joined for a three-year period.
With current donations and pledges totaling $80,000, it is anticipated that the total will reach $100,000 by year's end. Engineering designs have been drawn up and permitting is in process.
The groundwork has been laid and now the time has come to reach out to the community to help produce funding for this regional treasure.
How To Get Involved
GRLC is appealing to the regional community to show there is widespread grassroots support for restoring Glade Run Lake.
This can be done by joining as a member, making a donation, holding fundraisers of all kinds, checking with employers for charitable giving programs, writing to your local and state legislators, and by informing others about the problem.
We currently have a solid membership base, and with the approval of nonprofit status, we now are asking residents, groups and businesses to move more proactively into fundraising roles in any way they possibly can.
PFBC Executive Director John Arway stated that highest priority will go to the lake community that raises the most money locally (2/12). While no single group or individual is likely to raise the large sum that is needed, every donation and fundraiser, large or small, helps bring us closer to the financial goal and demonstrates the support of the community.
Having many fundraising contributors on behalf of the lake shows the community is actively working to get this shovel ready project funded. Involvement of more people/parties gives GRLC more clout as we apply to legislators and large funding sources.
This issue lends itself students, scout groups or civic groups looking for service projects, individuals who want to band together to do bake sales, garage or yard sales, raffles or sales of other types, take up collections, hold bingo games, meals, concerts, dances, comedy/talent shows, sporting events or other entertainment venues.
The types of possible fundraisers are endless.
School students have already taken the initiative to collect money and hold yard sales to do what they could to get their lake back. A Verizon employee learned that her empoyer will donate substantially to the nonprofit if she volunteers 50 hours of her time. She is currently in the final stages of doing this and when finished will be able to secure a donation of several hundred dollars with no out of pocket expense. She can repeat the effort annually.
The Mars Rod and Gun Club held a benefit that netted thousands of dollars.
If you want to help but don't know how to, please email us for suggestions or to be added to our growing list of volunteers.
Come meet us in person at our community outreach table at the Mars Fall Craft Show at Mars Middle School on Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
We also can be emailed at email@example.com.
With your help we can and will restore this treasured lake.