Camp Crystal Lake, a popular camper spot for summer vacationers in Lake Clare, is on the brink of shutting down, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Friday.
The closure will come after the state’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) found that the lake’s current water quality was unsafe for waterfowl, a designation that would prohibit recreational activity for the next six months.
The department cited three water quality violations.
Lake Clare Lake, located just north of Lake Clare and west of Camp Crystal Lakes.
(Photo: Emily Stoltz, The Republic)Lake Clare Lake is a popular lake in Lake Cliffs, and the state issued a permit in March 2016 to build a new camp site on the lake.
The site was expected to open in late July or early August, according to a news release from the state.
However, the date was pushed back due to an investigation into a reported odor of human waste and chemicals in Lake Crystal Lake.
The lake’s water quality has been the subject of a number of water quality investigations, including one in 2014 that found Lake Clare was at or above federal guidelines for human waste.
A state review in March of 2016 determined that Lake Clare’s water was safe for human consumption and drinking, according the news release.
“Lake Clare is currently the best place to camp for most people, yet the state has been unable to find a suitable alternative for the lake to provide the water quality and wildlife habitat needed for the long-term health of Lake Clifton,” said Laura H. Dennison, the DOC’s senior water quality manager.
“While the lake may be an ideal spot for overnight camping, it is a great place for people to spend the day and enjoy a relaxing weekend at Lake Clare.”
In its announcement, the department cited the Lake Cliff State Park, which hosts some of the state�s largest outdoor events, as one of the options for campers.
“The Lake Clare campgrounds and lake, while currently popular, are a great location for overnight guests and are in good condition, with a full-service campground that includes a kitchen and bathrooms,” the news package stated.
“We appreciate the hard work of the DPR to find the right solutions to the Lake Clare water quality problem, and we thank the DPP and the DNR for their patience.”
The DOC also recommended that campers use a filter, water source, and camp equipment for at least five days before starting camp.
In addition, the agency said that if campers stay overnight in Lake Calhoun or Camp Crystal, they should use a portable shower system and use water filters at least twice a week.
The campers can use water in a hose from a hose pump.
The state also recommended campers make sure their camping equipment is clean and that their campsite is well-maintained and properly maintained, according a news bulletin.
Campers will not be able to camp at Crystal Lake unless the state issues an order to reopen the lake for recreational activity.
“In Lake Calhouill and Camp Crystal lakes, we are experiencing problems with the Lake Calhelon and Crystal Lake streams, and are taking the necessary steps to restore the water,” said David F. Taggart, the DPA�s chief water quality officer.
“I encourage all of you to stay hydrated, take precautions, and follow the state rules.”
In addition to Crystal Lake and Lake Calheuns, other popular sites for camping in Lake County include Crystal Lake State Park in Lake Clarinda and Crystal Lakes State Park.
The Lake County Sheriff�s Office is investigating the incidents.
Crystal Lake is also a popular camping destination for lake kayakers and boaters, according on its website.