The West Side of the Pines

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,816
2,742
Pestletown, N.J.
Many people don't realize it but my hometown of Gibbsboro is the western edge of the Coastal Plain and the pines ecotype. Gibbsboro is part of the watershed divide between the Delaware and the Atlantic basins. East of the very high points in Gibbsboro, the streams flow to the Mullica River headwaters in Berlin Township and to the Great Egg Harbor River headwaters in Berlin Borough. To the west, the streams in Gibbsboro flow to the Cooper River and on to the Delaware. There is a huge 70+ year old gravel operation which has the misnomer of Tri-Boro Sand and Stone. Tri-Boro is actually in Gibbsboro, Lindenwold, Berlin Township and Voorhees. The woods are pine-oak dominants, mountain laurel and lowbush blueberry understories and sandy soils.

Anywho, here is a picture of Bridgewood Lake in Gibbsboro from October 6. It is owned by my club, Square Circle Sportsmen. Incorporated in 1938. I spent most of my young life on this lake fishing or ice skating and have spent every Thursday night at Square Circle since the early 1980's. I am now the Board Chairman and I have raised two sons at this club and on this lake. They are both now members of the organization. I now have my grandson fishing there regularly and in another 6 weeks, I have two more grandsons hatching and they too will be on this lake someday.:)


Enjoy.

Square Circle 10-6-20.jpg
:)
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,816
2,742
Pestletown, N.J.
Scott, does the lake have an outlet? Does it flow West?

Edit: yes, I see it. Millard Creek westbound.

Bob,

Millard more commonly known as Hillard's Creek is a Superfund Site along with multiple other Superfund sites in my little old hometown of Gibbsboro. Our Lake is sandwiched between the "Burn Site" and the "Hilliards Creek" sites. We are also home to the "561 Dump Site" which is nearing remediation completion. All of our Superfund sites are related to the original Lucas Paint Works which opened in 1852 on Silver lake, known as Lucas Lake to the locals. Lucas sold to Sherwin-Williams and Sherwin is now on the hook for all of the remediation. My guess is that they will be in town for at least another 30 years.

Bridgewood Lake will be remediated within the next 10-15 years as of current estimates. I am the liaison with Sherwin Williams for our Club and I have their team come in once a year for a dog and pony show. They are very cooperative and are always happy to come out and press the flesh.

Our lake is remarkably healthy, with respect to fish population but the metals list and the concentrations of those metals in our bottom sediments would absolutely knock you out of your chair. All the things that make up really good paint like lead, zinc and arsenic are stacked in our bottom like you would not believe. Most of our issues were from the Burn Site which is only 400' upstream from our lake. The paint works used to burn paint by-product wastes on the ground and then bury the residues. When I was a kid the land was used as our local 4-H facility. The sign is still there behind the security fence.

Here is a brief synopsis of the issues:
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amf

Explorer
May 20, 2006
144
39
Swedesboro
Wow... never knew that was the name of the lake. We always called it 'square circle lake'. Its where I first fished, and learned to ice skate. I imagine its been a while since folks skated there - seems none of the lakes freeze solid any more, except for one brief spell in January of 2018. There's probably a whole generation that has never ice skated outdoors.
 
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RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,816
2,742
Pestletown, N.J.
Wow... never knew that was the name of the lake. We always called it 'square circle lake'. Its where I first fished, and learned to ice skate. I imagine its been a while since folks skated there - seems none of the lakes freeze solid any more, except for one brief spell in January of 2018. There's probably a whole generation that has never ice skated outdoors.

You ain't kidding about the lack of good ice. I would spend my whole weekend there as a kid skating. We do occasionally get enough ice for a few days of ice fishing.

As you probably know, Square Circle was on the State trout stocking list for years. That ended when the lake was closed to the public. It was closed in the late 70's for the usual reasons, trash and liability concerns.. When I joined the Club in the mid-80's, one of our workday projects was planting the white pines along the front of the lake where everyone used to park to fish.
 

bobpbx

Piney
Staff member
Oct 25, 2002
13,102
3,325
Pines; Bamber area
That sounds like a major disaster, that burn site. I would guess the lake will eventually be drained and the bottom scooped out, or are they just going to cap it with clay and an impervious plastic cover, like they did to the old dump by Wells Mills. The man who ran that dump allowed hundreds of drums of waste to be buried there.
 

Rooftree

Explorer
Mar 24, 2017
273
467
77
Haddon Township
I too, to this day, have called this lake as Square Circle. Looking at some documents on the web dating back to 1971, the lake was referred to as Square Circle. I fished there a couple of times back in the late 50's, and can remember it being stocked with trout.

However, more often, during the same time period, a fishing buddy and I would fished Lucas Lake. We wouldn't start fishing until 9PM. We would wade through the lily pads with just our bathing suit and a pair of those old buckle galoshes to fish for bass. We used the lighting from Lucas Paint Works to give us some light to shine over the water. That was the good old days.

Most important, my 'fishing buddy and I have been fished together for over 65 years. It was the love of fishing we both have that kept us together for all these years. Today, we fish Barnegat Bay were he keeps his boat on Forked River.
 

RednekF350

Piney
Feb 20, 2004
4,816
2,742
Pestletown, N.J.
I too, to this day, have called this lake as Square Circle. Looking at some documents on the web dating back to 1971, the lake was referred to as Square Circle. I fished there a couple of times back in the late 50's, and can remember it being stocked with trout.

However, more often, during the same time period, a fishing buddy and I would fished Lucas Lake. We wouldn't start fishing until 9PM. We would wade through the lily pads with just our bathing suit and a pair of those old buckle galoshes to fish for bass. We used the lighting from Lucas Paint Works to give us some light to shine over the water. That was the good old days.

Most important, my 'fishing buddy and I have been fished together for over 65 years. It was the love of fishing we both have that kept us together for all these years. Today, we fish Barnegat Bay were he keeps his boat on Forked River.
Nice to hear.
Lucas had some nice fish in it and because it was the upstream source for water flowing through and under the Paint Works facility, it was never contaminated. One of the worst areas on the property itself were the waste lagoons behind the buildings at the corner of Foster and United States Avenue. I used to play back there and we would throw rocks into the lagoons. The mystery liquids would react in slow motion because they were so thick.
 
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amf

Explorer
May 20, 2006
144
39
Swedesboro
If you could have that entire drainage area without the old paintworks (well, maybe that and the old landfill on Centennial Blvd), it would have been a surprisingly clean body of water. As you said, a Pine Barren outlier draining to the west.
 
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