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The CLA can trace its roots to August 6, 1890, when the Charleston Lake Anglers Association was formed. In the Summer of 1915, the organization changed its name to the Charleston Lake Association, with the motto: “for the improvement and protection and interests of Charleston Lake”.  In 1999, an affiliate organization, the Charleston Lake Environmental Association (CLEA) was formed as a Registered Charity, to focus on environmental projects on the lake and within its watershed. 

For more than 100 years, concerned citizens and users of Charleston Lake have worked diligently to ensure the lake provides a welcoming and safe environment, often in partnership with other NGOs and different orders of government.  Examples of notable projects over the decades include:


1891: Installation of a fishway to allow fish to bypass the Dam of the Gananoque Light and Power Co. at the lake’s sole outlet

1898:  First Sailing Regatta with Association markers, surveillance, and “crash boats” (which were actually used!)


1917:  Construction of a public wharf at Charleston Village (for the cost of $1000 in then-year dollars – more than $20,000 today)


1958:  Beginning of the Shoal Marker program (still ongoing to this day, with some 75 Transport Canada approved shoal marking buoys installed and removed seasonally by CLA volunteers)


1999: Creation of the Charleston Lake Environmental Association to enable greater focus on environmental projects and initiatives


2000: Initiation of water quality testing program, conducted annually at seven specific basins around Charleston Lake (continuous, except 2020, due to Covid-19)


2004:  Initiation of the Stream Rehabilitation Program, in co-operation with the Leeds-Grenville Stewardship Council (Leading to the re-location of more than 1100 head of cattle out of streams flowing into the lake, thereby minimizing agricultural run-off, nutrient inputs and soil losses into Charleston Lake and watershed)

2006:  Publication of the Charleston Lake Plan (see footnote 1, above)


2016:  Completion of the “Old Baldy” conservation project, which saw ~130 acres transferred from a development project to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.  (Recognized in 2017 by Environment Canada as one of the top 150 projects in Canada for the Canada150 celebrations).

Many may not know that in the winter on Charleston Lake there were horse races and horse drawn sleighs traveled on the frozen lake.

historical charleston lake.jpg
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