Weekends on the water

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Oct. 10, 2002 


As the leaves in Monroe County begin to change color for the fall, students are looking for places to relax and have fun over the weekend.

Local canoeing areas are plentiful in Bloomington, but the top spots people said they like to visit are Griffy Lake, Lake Lemon and Lake Monroe.


Originally designed as the first reservoir for the city of Bloomington, Griffy Lake is located north of IN-45/46 on Fee Lane. This 1,200-acre nature preserve located in Bloomington's back yard offers 109 acres of water that peaks at ten feet deep. Motorized boats are prohibited on Lake Griffy, making its calm waters a good choice for canoeing and kayaking.

"Griffy is the best place to relax," said IU graduate and canoer Jason Harvey. "There's no boat traffic to worry about but there's still room enough to find your own place."

Framed by overhanging trees and filled with plant life that breaks the surface, the lake itself has the calm but dense feel of a marsh.

Melissa Cary, supervisor of the Lake Griffy boathouse, said the conditions for canoeing are excellent.


Lake Lemon is surrounded by hills punctuated with lakefront homes and docks. It is the seventh largest lake in Indiana and features hawks, geese and the occasional bald eagle. Ten miles northeast of Bloomington, Lake Lemon is Bloomington's home for avid rowers.

The IU Sailing Center is the base also for the IU rowing team, who practice there every fall and spring, as well as the Riddle Point Rowing Association, created two years ago. The IU Sailing Center offers boat rentals, storage and memberships. It also holds academic classes in sailing and rowing as well as hosting an aquatic laboratory for the Department of Kinesiology.

Riddle Point Park, just down the lake from the Sailing Center, has a 24-hour launch as well as a beach area ideal for launching any boat. In the summer the lake is filled with water skiers, making conditions difficult for canoeing. It clears out in the fall and spring and becomes an ideal place for rowers.

David Calvin, a canoeing enthusiast and graduate student, said the best sites for canoeing and kayaking are in the more remote areas.

"Boating along the shoreline is splendid," Calvin said. "The area is…very clean."


Offering 10,750 acres of water and 23,952 total, Lake Monroe is the largest lake in Indiana. It is also one of Southern Indiana's busiest tourist destinations and boasts several full-service marinas and resorts as well as state-reserved areas.

The pure size of Lake Monroe and the number of its outlets make it a very good site for canoeing.

"There's plenty of little inlets you can explore," said Jenny Shedd, owner of the Paynetown Lake Monroe boat rental.

Many preserved areas in the park are accessible by canoe and kayak.

"Most of the lake is national forest, and it's protected by the Corps of Engineers so there aren't home sites right on the lake," Shedd said.

The lake does entertain a great number of motorboat enthusiasts, but it is still large enough to find space for canoes. Activities other than canoeing and kayaking available at Lake Monroe are motorboat rental, hiking or relaxing on one of the lake's three beaches.


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