Mini-documentary puts Lake Hopatcong in the spotlight

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By Bill Woolley | LHF: The WildLogica mini-documentary will feature everything from wildlife to human life on Lake Hopatcong. Hours of raw footage was taken along the waterfront, at marinas, restaurants, the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum, and other scenic or significant locations.

“The WildLogica video will carry three main messages,” said Marty Kane, chair of the LHF Board of Directors, who made arrangements for the project with Hartwell during a chance mid-air meeting on an airplane. “One, that there is a problem; two, that there are ways to successfully address it, and; three, that there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy life around the lake.”

It’s the summer of ’19 at Lake Hopatcong.

On a sunny Monday afternoon in mid July, a single runabout motors its way around the lake, joining only a few swimmers, a couple paddle-boarders and a jet-skier on the four-square-mile body of water.

Perched on the front deck of the motorboat, Rae Hartwell is taking video of whatever wildlife she can spot—herons, turtles, cormorants, and an eagle soaring overhead. She’s the founder of a fledgling volunteer organization called WildLogica, the mission of which is, “to inspire all generations to pursue curiosity and enrich their lives while making positive changes for all living things.”

Hartwell, a 33-year-old native of Florida, was gathering raw footage for an approximate four-minute documentary on Lake Hopatcong, focusing on the human woes associated with the current swimming advisory from the state. The production end of the project will be completed, compliments of WildLogica on behalf of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.

Lately, ABCs of lake life—like Aquatics, Boating and Casting—have temporarily given way to Algal Blooms and Cyanobacteria at Lake Hopatcong, while acronyms like DEP, HAB and NSP are being tossed around like beach balls at the State Park.

Many residents, trying to swim in deep scientific waters, are finding themselves in way over their heads and, on Facebook, anyone dropping a line about the condition of the lake is likely to catch a boatload of backlash.

For some, “I’m going swimming,” has become a battle cry, more a matter of defiance than delight.

Hartwell also did spot interviews with mayors from all four lake municipalities, as well as other spokespeople, including LHF President Jessica Murphy and Lake Hopatcong Commission Chair Ron Smith. A clip of the most recent meeting of the Lake Hopatcong Commission at Hopatcong High School, attended by an estimated 200 citizens, might also make the cut.

“People around the lake care deeply about it and are passionate about its welfare,” said Murphy. “While the recent water-quality problems have presented some very difficult challenges, I’m confident everyone will pull together for Lake Hopatcong, and that its future will shine brighter than ever.”

Editing and final production work is already underway, and the goal is to have the video complete by August 1st.  It will be posted on the LHF website (lakehopatcongfoundation.org) and social media as soon as it’s available. For more information about WildLogica, visit wildlogica.com.

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