Fern Lake, behind Humboldt State University’s Kinesiology and Athletics Building, is a peaceful place to hangout as well as a popular and risky diskgolfing spot. | Photo by Nick Kemper.

Hidden treasures

Exploring the on campus lake behind the brush
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Exploring the on campus lake behind the brush

In the forest behind Humboldt State University’s Kinesiology and Athletics Building hides a mysterious little lake that even Jason Sowerwine, lead gardener for the Housing areas on campus, didn’t know about.

Fern Lake is tucked away on the edge of campus. Students go there to relax, disk-golfers go there to play and community members go there to mountain-bike. Fallen trees in the lake stick out of the water like spikes. There is also a small pier that leads to a small cement platform.

Isabelle Otillio is an environmental science and management major who goes to the lake to relax. Ostillo said she likes the lake because it is different from what you would typically see across campus.

“My favorite thing is not having one thing to look at but having a whole scene set in front of me and being under the canopy of trees while there’s still an opening,” said Otillio. “It’s just a really unique spot that not a lot of people know about.”

Skyy Freitas is a communications major who also works for grounds keeping. She heard about the lake from some of her friends and has visited several times.

“It’s really nice and peaceful,” said Freitas. “I love it so much! And there’s turtles in it!”

Patrick Mero is the fishery manager at the Humboldt State University Fishery. He has been the manager for little over a year, but he knows about the pond. He said that the pond has been supplying water to the hatchery since the fishery was built.

“It still supplies water to the hatchery,” Mero said . “It’ll probably be used for the hatchery as long as it will be around.”

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A wooden pier leads to a cement platform in the middle of Fern Lake at Humboldt State University. | Photo by Nick Kemper.

According to the school archive, Humboldt State University by Katy Tahja, Fern Lake was constructed in 1938.

Originally, it was a small stream that was dammed up to make a fish hatchery. Over time, the dam improved and the pond became a small reservoir. Sometimes science classes would conduct various experiments using the lake. One experiment was about water quality and another was about salamanders.

The Lumberjack Day’s Fest existed in the 1970’s and took place at Fern Lake. It was an annual logging sport event day that included a variety of contests, both physical and mental.

They had contests about estimating tree volume, and birling contests. Birling is running on a floating long for a certain length of time. Unfortunately, because of alcohol related incidents, the festival was canceled.

The disc golf course also has baskets throughout the forest and one basket is right by the lake. Keith Delawder is an experienced diskgolfer that graduated from HSU three years ago. He plays disk golf in the forest often and has been playing in the park for around a decade.

“It’s a really nice feature for the school and park,” Delawder said.

Aside from all the lake’s fun and beauty, it has taken many frisbees over the years.

“I’ve put like over ten frisbees in there like over the last eight to ten years,” Delawder said.

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Humboldt State University’s Fern Lake is a beautiful, mysterious, frisbee-eating place hidden beyond the edge of the school. | Photo by Nick Kemper.

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One Comment

  1. Megan Megan Monday, October 8, 2018

    I appreciate the sweet coverage of a campus treasure. For correction, however Jason Sowerwine is the lead gardener for the Housing area of campus, and the article covers the Grounds area for Facilities Management. For that “grounds zone” on campus, the Gardening Specialist in charge is Anthony Johnson who works hard and deserves credit for his work managing over 27 acres. Tallchief Comet is the Dept Manager for Grounds and can probably also provide additional information.

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