Long Lake

Long Lake, at two miles long and 2,000 ft. across at its widest, is the largest body of freshwater in Kitsap County. Its sparkling waters first attracted homesteaders in the late 1800s, and a century later people are still coming to the freshwater mecca. Last week’s sunny weather brought families and fishermen to Long Lake County Park, located at the north end of the lake. By the time mid-summer hits, the beach will be hidden by a swarm of swimmers and sun-bathers and people fishing off the beach for cutthroat, more specifically for the elusive "Walter," a mythical fish that is part of the legend on Long Lake. He’s the biggest fish in the entire lake. Families regularly come to the park. The kids enjoy the fishing and the playground. The parents appreciate the tranquil atmosphere. Long Lake is a good place to get off the beaten path of home. A fisherman, out in a shiny bass boat slowly cruising Long Lake, casts along shallow weeds hugging the shoreline near wear Long Lake empties into Curley Creek. He guides his boat with a small electric motor controlled from the front by small pedals. He is a member of the Long Lake Bass Club. There is a lot of new development in the area, especially in the south end and the fisherman don’t even fish the south end anymore--- to much silt from development. They fell that in 10 years and the south end, where all the lilypads are, will be a beach. Modern fishermen join a long history of anglers on Long Lake. Early settlers ran resorts and fishing and hunting lodges, including the Long Lake Hotel (later renamed the Y-not Lodge) and also the Lake View Hotel. Visitors were attracted to the trout, bass and bluegill found in Long Lake, along with the abundant deer, bear and birds. According to a 1946 article in the Bremerton Sun, Jack MacDonald, a Manchester Naval Station fireman, bagged three bears with a combined weight of 681 pounds during one hunting excursion in the area. The lodge had 11 small rooms, now converted into four apartment units. A worm farm was located underneath the building and the lodge offered boat rentals.

The area has experienced rapid development. Long Lakers, when they have collective problems, traditionally gather in the Long Lake Community Club, located on the hill above the north end of the lake. The club is on the site of the former school building, built by homesteaders in 1891. The land was donated by "Dad" Williams and students in grades one through eight attended. After World War II, at a time when schools were being consolidated, the school was sold for $1. The only stipulation was whoever bought the schoolhouse would use it for a community club and no other purpose. Any problems that pop up in the neighborhood are addressed at the monthly meeting of the community club. The neighbors are friendly, if not a bit unusual. "We’re all a bit eccentric out here or we wouldn’t be out here."