Is the Pine Barrens ‘cedar water’ safe to swim in?
For those of us who grew up swimming in lakes and streams near or in the Jersey Pine Barrens, cedar water is no big deal. It's clean and refreshing like any other lake or stream, but to the newcomer it can be a little scary to think that the tea colored water you're about to bathe in, is actually clean. I saw it for the first time as a teenager going to my cousins house in Evesham Twp. or Marlton. She took up to a place called Creek Run which was a day camp that had a nice lake. When you're a kid and it's hot and somebody takes you to a lake, you just jump in.
Over the weekend I took some adults and kids to a lake near my house that is a cedar water lake. It took some convincing for the mom to let her little ones jump in. The lake water is tested every week for bacteria levels and the water is clear. It's just tea colored. The color comes from a combination of iron deposits in the soil and the roots of cedar trees which are quite prevalent in the area. It can be a little intimidating if you've never been in it before and it will stain your tidy whities if you're in there all day, but it's harmless.
There is a little bit more of a woodsy aroma to the lakes, but not offensive. When the heat index is near 100 degrees and the beach is an hour away and you don't have a pool....Jump in. Most of the family is not crazy about the 'mucky' bottom of the lake, so I bought a few 'floating hammocks' to enjoy on the lake. Of course they're mostly white and no matter how much I hosed them off, just like my tidy whities when I was 14, the lake left it's mark. No biggie! Atsion Lake in Shamong is one of the best family friendly lakes in South Jersey for you to check out.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.
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