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Spruce Run Reservoir is one of the oldest reservoirs in the state of New Jersey. Constructed in the 1960s to meet an increasing need for water supplies and recreation areas for New Jersey residents, this Hunterdon County reservoir is the third largest in the state. Upon its completion in 1963, the reservoir's 6,000 foot long earthen dam impounded 11 billion gallons of water. Because most of the land surrounding the lake is part of a wildlife management area, it is preserved from development and provides visitors with a scenic spot for both relaxation and recreation.
Spruce Run is one of the top bass fishing lakes in the state. The lake is stocked regularly by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife with hybrid bass, as well as trout and northern pike. In all, the lake is home to 29 species of fish, including largemouth bass, catfish, sunfish, yellow perch, and carp. Anglers and boating enthusiasts alike may take advantage of the public boat launch, or rent a boat from the local marina. Motorboats are limited to a 10 horsepower engine or less.
Spruce Run's fifteen miles of shoreline and its irregular shape make for fun paddling for both canoes and kayaks. There are plenty of twists and turns to explore, as well as an island in the southwestern section of the reservoir. The lake's light breezes also make it perfect for windsurfing and sailing. The local sailing club hosts its regattas at Spruce Run, and on warm summer days the lake is dotted with many colorful sails puffed up in the breeze.
Spruce Run Recreation Area affords opportunities for swimming, hiking, and camping. A public swimming beach is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and offers visitors showers, restrooms, concession stands, and playgrounds. Six picnic areas are available overlooking the reservoir and provide an ideal place to enjoy lunch after a refreshing swim. A one mile section of the Highlands Millennium Trail, which will eventually connect to both the Delaware River and Hudson River, runs through the park--perfect for a leisurely walk. The park contains 67 campsites, each equipped with a picnic table, fire ring, and easy access to restrooms and showers. When the temperature drops, Spruce Run becomes a haven for winter sports--cross-country skiing, ice fishing, and ice boating are all popular cold weather activities.
Nature lovers have a variety of options for enjoying the wildlife surrounding Spruce Run Reservoir. The Union Furnace Nature Preserve is one of the wildlife areas bordering the lake. Named for the colonial ironworks that once occupied the site, the preserve has 97 acres of woodlands and is especially popular with birdwatchers. Don't forget your camera, as orioles, blue jays, cedar waxwings, and even bald eagles have all been spotted at Spruce Run, as well as gulls and other shorebirds that inhabit the beaches of the reservoir. The Clinton Wildlife Management Area covers an additional 1,475 acres surrounding the reservoir and offers even more space for hiking, birding, and hunting.
For over forty years, Spruce Run has enchanted its visitors because of its all-season appeal. With its undisturbed shoreline, scenic waters, and variety of recreational activities, Spruce Run Reservoir is the ideal destination for those who love the great outdoors.
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