JENNINGS RANDOLPH LAKE - Calling the Jennings Randolph Lake area “gorgeous and beautiful,” Marie Burns, chief of operations of the Baltimore District for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, spoke  at the dedication of Kalbaugh Pond in the Robert W. Craig Campground.

Burns said she had moved from Florida to the Baltimore area several years ago, and was often questioned about why that particular move was made.


By Jean Braithwaite
Tribune Correspondent
JENNINGS RANDOLPH LAKE - Calling the Jennings Randolph Lake area “gorgeous and beautiful,” Marie Burns, chief of operations of the Baltimore District for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, spoke  at the dedication of Kalbaugh Pond in the Robert W. Craig Campground.
Burns said she had moved from Florida to the Baltimore area several years ago, and was often questioned about why that particular move was made.
Answering that to be able to see the stunning and magnificent view of the lake makes me know, “I made the right decision,” she gave  credit to those who “worked in partnership” to make the pond construction possible.
“This was truly a community effort,” she said.
Adding to this, Karl Hakala, operations manager for Jennings Randolph Lake, stated the ultimate goal was to “have many different people working together” to bring the pond to its present state.
He pointed out that the purpose of the building of the lake was to have flood management, to maintain water storage, to have improved water quality to downstream cities, and for “recreation, the reason we are here today.”
Telling those present at the dedication about the pond, Hakala mentioned the facilities are ADA compliant and equipped with parking spaces to accommodate two-sided handicapped vehicles.
Telling about the history of this project, Bill Donnellan, supervisory ranger, said the pond had long been situated at the present spot, originally
owned by Robert “Bob” Kalbaugh, but “sat unused for many years.”
Gathering ideas on how to turn it into a public fishing area, and getting the green light to proceed, he said, “We began to look for volunteers.”
Nathan McKenzie, from Boy Scout Troop 68 of Springfield, wanted to move closer to earning his Eagle Scout status, and he selected the project of clearing the overgrown pond area.
He said about the project, “It took about three weeks to clear a path to the pond,” giving credit to his parents, friends, and fellow Boy Scouts for giving their assistance.
“It sure looks different today from when I first saw this area,” McKenzie said at the dedication.
Donnellan said the next step was to spread loads of wood chips near the pond “to make a basic pathway,” and then realizing, “Snakes love chip piles.”
Working closely with Jim Hedrick, a biologist for the WV Fisheries, Donnellan said arrangements were made to stock the pond with bluegill during the first year and later with largemouth bass.
Funding was sought and obtained through a Corps Challenged Partnership program, as Donnellan said, “We then sought a partner to make the pond accessible for the handicapped, and Gary Kalbaugh’s name came to the top of the list.”
Kalbaugh was to construct the roadway, parking lot, walkway, and pier, and Donnellan said, “When Gary arrived on the scene, he worked fast and hard and hammers and nails began to fly.”
The blacktopping was completed with the cooperation of Jane Belt, president of Quarry Ridge Asphalt, of Cumberland.
“This was total team effort by staff members and working with amazing partners, we now have the Challenged Accessible Kalbaugh Pond,” Donnellan said.
The distinguished guests present for the dedication included: Senator Dave Sypolt, of the 14th District; Delegate Ruth Rowan, of the 50th District; Delegate Allen Evans, of the 48h District; Dr. Richard Lechliter, mayor of Ridgeley; Jennie Shaffer, of the Mineral County Planning Commission; and Tom Braithwaite, of the Mineral County Development Authority and the Friends of Jennings Randolph Lake.
The Kalbaugh Pond is now opened to all physically challenged West Virginia licensed people and children age 14-years and younger.