Long-existing plans to restore the historic dams at Mountain Lakes are now moving ahead. Last week, engineers and historians did a walk through to discuss various details of the plans. The dams were built around 1900 in order to harvest ice, which was stored in three-story barns just below the lower dam.
The photo shows the old spillway, now reinforced with loose rock to prevent it from collapsing. There was some uncertainty about whether the lakes could be dredged as part of the restoration, but the township is now more optimistic about funding, including the possibility of tapping into the upcoming federal economic stimulus package. A great deal of silt has accumulated in the lakes over the past 100 years. Two small dams upstream that used to trap the silt are completely filled, and now the upper lake has six feet of silt, with only one foot of water on top.