Harveys Lake, Vermont, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - New England - Vermont - Northeast Kingdom -

Also known as:  Harvey's Lake, Harvey Lake, Lake Harvey

Harveys Lake may be one of the best-kept water secrets in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The 350-acre lake has no publicly advertised amenities, making its main users the property owners and guests of the two campgrounds and resorts. Originally a smaller lake, the surface area increased when a dam was built across South Peacham Brook in 1879, raising the lake level by over four feet. The result was a larger supply of water to power mills downstream. Over the years, more than 100 property owners built cottages and seasonal homes along the four-mile shore. Rumor has it that as a child, young Jacques Cousteau learned to dive here while spending time at a summer camp.

Harveys Lake is located in the Town of Barnet and takes its name from one of the original settlers of the region, Colonel Alexander Harvey. Originally, the lake was written as Harvey’s Lake, but the geological service removed the apostrophe in keeping with their policy. Colonel Harvey also lent his name to Harvey Mountain, a 1785-foot local landmark west of the lake. Today, the local lake association calls it Lake Harvey, but everyone locally knows what lake is being referred to no matter what it is called. For a small lake, Harvey Lake is quite deep, reaching a maximum depth of 144 feet. The lake has long been known as a coldwater fishery for rainbow trout and lake trout.

Residents enjoy every type of water sport. The clear waters are excellent for swimming, water skiing, pontooning, sailing, wind surfing and tubing. Most cottages have their own docks and often their own private slice of beach. There are no marinas at Harveys Lake; it is quietly residential and much loved by its lakefront dwellers. The Lake Harvey Association acts as organizer for community projects and protector of lake quality. The Association works to monitor for invasive species, and coordinates activities for both adults and children. One very popular activity is an annual themed boat parade each summer. Although there are no advertised public access points, the Town of Barnet owns a public beach at the north end of the lake near the outlet with a sandy beach, marked swim area with lifeguard, playground equipment, picnic tables and pavilions. Beach-goers must have a permit from the Town offices, and those with proof of residence receive a discounted rate. Hand-carried boats, canoes and kayaks may be launched from the shore near the beach but must have proof from the boat wash at the south end of the lake that they have washed their craft to protect against nuisance species.

The other point of public access is the boat launch site near the south end of the lake. Although not prominent on their website, Vermont Fish and Wildlife lists it as an access site, and old maps show it to be a Fish and Wildlife facility. A boat wash is located here, with an attendant on duty to provide proof the boat has been washed in keeping with regulations. A medium-sized concrete boat ramp is located here with a small parking area across the road. No designated shore fishing area is located at the lake. There is little published information, so it is unknown if the ramp can handle larger boats. Besides the lake trout (some of the area’s biggest) and rainbow trout, the lake also holds chain pickerel, yellow perch, rainbow trout and panfish. Ice fishing is also very popular here.

Two commercial campgrounds located along the shore offer over 200 campsites to summer visitors. One of these also offers housekeeping cabin rentals. At least one other cottage resort is located here and also leases and sells cottages. A number of private ‘camp’ owners rent their properties on a short-term basis, often with a boat included. Harvey Lake is a quiet location, with a heavily treed shoreline and more solitude than many residential lakes-a perfect getaway vacation spot for a week or an entire summer. A limited amount of real estate is usually available, and the surrounding roads are perfect for walking, cycling and nature observance. The small town of West Barnet is located a couple of miles north of the lake along the outlet channel where the dam is located. Little Mosquitoville is a couple of miles south of the lake. Neither town appears to have much more than a convenience store or gas station for services. The larger Town of Barnet is less than six miles to the east on the Stevens River near the point where it joins the Connecticut River, but it also has few services. The largest nearest city is Saint Johnsbury, an easy 15 mile drive. Saint Johnsbury has all of the services expected in any larger city, including a wealth of different types of lodgings, restaurants and entertainment venues.

The area is known for outdoor recreation, with downhill skiing, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting and plenty of fly fishing in the local streams. Saint Johnsbury has the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, which calls itself Northern New England’s Museum of Natural History. This is a delightful place to explore the flora and fauna of the area, with exhibits of ‘bug art’, a seasonal wildflower table, and natural features of the Northeast Kingdom on display. Field expeditions are scheduled throughout the year focusing on birding, edible wild plants, mushrooms, moths, trees, rocks and fossils, bogs and other area attractions. Only 30 miles from Harveys Lake, non-profit Kingdom Trails offers miles of trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding and all types of winter sports, including trails for ‘fat tire’ cycling on the snow in the winter. Annual membership passes are available, and the center offers a wide variety of ecology-themed activities and events. Near the Trails center, a ski area is open every winter.

In recent years, Vermonters have become concerned that water quality in Harveys Lake was eroding. Lake studies based on sediment core sampling have been able to pinpoint the causes. One issue is that modern farming methods have allowed more sediment to enter the incoming streams and flow into the lake. Another problem is heavy rainfall in the South Peacham Brook watershed which allows rising creek levels to send debris over the dam and into Harveys Lake in a temporarily reversed water flow. A new type of dam made of an inflatable rubber material has been proposed that can inflate and deflate in response to changing water levels and could be installed in place of the current dam. Final decisions do not yet appear to have been made as to how the problem should best be solved to restore the lake to its historic pristine state.

Things to do at Harveys Lake VT

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Ice Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Water Skiing
  • Wind Surfing
  • Tubing
  • Camping
  • Campground
  • Picnicking
  • Cabin Rentals
  • Hiking
  • Mountain Climbing
  • Biking
  • Downhill Skiing
  • Cross-Country Skiing
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Playground

Fish species found at Harveys Lake VT

  • Chain Pickerel
  • Lake Trout
  • Perch
  • Pickerel
  • Pike
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Trout
  • Yellow Perch

Harveys Lake VT Photo Gallery

Harveys Lake VT Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Dammed

Water Level Control: Town of Barnet

Surface Area: 350 acres

Shoreline Length: 4 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 892 feet

Maximum Depth: 144 feet

Drainage Area: 21 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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