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Latest News

Blue Marsh Lake updates Harmful Algae Bloom Status
10/28/2021
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Philadelphia District is updating the harmful algal bloom status at Blue Marsh Lake from a Warning Status down to a Harmful Algal Bloom Advisory Status. The...
Army Corps to draw down Blue Marsh Lake reservoir in advance of forecasted rain
9/21/2021
The U.S. Army Corps Engineers Philadelphia District has announced it will draw down the reservoir at Blue Marsh Lake in advance of significant forecasted rainfall. Blue Marsh Lake is located on the...
Boat Launches Remain Closed at Blue Marsh Lake
9/3/2021
Due to heavy rains from Tropical Storm Ida and the resulting runoff, the boat launches at Blue Marsh Lake remain closed to the public. The lake level is currently nine feet above the normal summer...

Welcome to Blue Marsh Lake

Blue Marsh Lake was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1978 and has prevented more than $90 million in flood damages. The recreation program at the project attracts almost 900,000 visitors a year.
Blue Marsh Lake, constructed in 1978, has prevented more than $56 million in flood damages.
Blue Marsh Lake was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1978 and has prevented more than $90 million in flood damages. The recreation program at the project attracts almost 900,000 visitors a year.
The Blue Marsh Lake Visitor's Center features educational information on the project, which was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1978 and has prevented more than $90 million in flood damages. The recreation program at the project attracts almost 900,000 visitors a year.
Blue Marsh Lake Seasonal Rangers Olivia Robertson (front) and Willow Shendge (back) participate in a paddling/kayaking demonstration event. Blue Marsh Lake is a multi-purpose project built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Blue Marsh Lake Seasonal Rangers highlighted the importance of water safety during an event at a Reading Fightin' Phils game. Blue Marsh Lake is a multi-purpose project built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Blue Marsh Lake was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1978 and has prevented more than $90 million in flood damages. The recreation program at the project attracts almost 900,000 visitors a year.
Blue Marsh Lake includes 29.7 miles of multi-purpose trails.
Blue Marsh Lake Ranger Brianna Treichler collects water samples with a USACE ecologist as part of a monitoring program. Blue Marsh Lake is a multi-purpose project built and maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Kayakers explore Blue Marsh Lake on Get Outdoors Day in 2012.

Blue Marsh Lake is located northwest of Reading in Berks County, Pennsylvania. This is a multi-purpose project built and maintained by the Philadelphia District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The dam was authorized by Congress for flood control, water supply, water quality and recreation. Construction began in 1974 and was completed in 1979. The dam is located on the Tulpehocken Creek and the project's water control practices benefit downstream communities. The  project provides flood risk management benefits primarily for Reading, Birdsboro and Pottstown areas. Water supply and water quality management practices benefit areas further downstream, including Philadelphia. 

While the main purpose of Blue Marsh was to provide flood control to part of the Schuylkill River Valley, over the years the lake has become a recreational hotspot. With over 36 miles of trails, 6200 acres of land, 1148 acres of water, picnic areas, a small beach and boat launches the lake can accommodate all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. The dam is an earthfill dam that that is 1,775 feet long, 98 feet high and can hold upwards of 16.28 billion gallons of water. During the summer months, the water level is maintained at 290 feet above sea level. In the winter the lake is drawn down five feet to provide for additional flood water storage.

The grasp of Blue Marsh does not stop there. Over the years, the park staff has increased outreach efforts and organizes volunteers for events that happen all year round. Three of the larger programs include Earth Day At Blue Marsh Lake (formerly Take Pride in Blue Marsh) (April), Get Outdoors Day (June), and National Public Lands Day (September). Tours and programs for school and civic groups emphasize the Corps missions, water safety and outdoor recreation. Contact Blue Marsh Lake to find out more about these and other programs we offer.

Blue Marsh Lake’s facilities offer something for everyone. The developed recreation areas are open at 8 a.m. every day and close around dusk accordingly during each season.

The Visitor Center overlooks the tower and dam offering a spectacular view of the lake. It is a great place to start your visit. You will find information about the lake, other Corps projects, and learn more about dam operations.

The Dry Brooks Day Use Area attracts a large percentage of visitors to the project. Located within this site is a swim beach but be alert as there are no life guards on duty and it is swim at your own risk. 

Amenities offered in this area include numerous first-come, first-serve picnic tables and grills, as well as a Concession Stand and public restrooms. 

There are three pavilions available for reservation by logging on to Recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Please be aware that the boat launches fill quickly on weekends and Holidays during the summer boating season. 

Dry Brooks Boat Launch 

Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Located at 1336 Palisades Drive, Leesport PA, Dry Brooks Boat Launch is the smaller of the two launches operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Boaters launching from this location will be directly across from the Dry Brooks Day Use Area and is a convenient location for those wishing to meet with family and friends picnicking at the Day Use Area.

Amenities include a Comfort Station with restrooms and water available May – October, and a Port–A–Potty during the winter season.

State Hill Boat Launch 

Operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Located at 599 Brownsville Road, Sinking Spring PA, State Hill Boat Launch is the largest boat launch at Blue Marsh Lake. Boaters launching from this location enter directly into the main pool area of the lake.

Amenities include a waterless Comfort Station that is open year-round.

Sheidy Boat Launch  

Operated by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

Located at 5998 Bernville Road, Bernville PA, Sheidy Boat Launch is the smallest boat launch at Blue Marsh Lake, and the only boat launch that is not operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Boaters launching from this location will be in the northern area of the lake, furthest from the main recreation areas, and within the designated No Wake Zone of the lake. Please take note that all boaters launching from this location must have the proper state permits, such as a non-powered launch permit.

Amenities include Port–A–Potties year-round.

Located at 1280 Palisades Drive, Leesport PA, the Stilling Basin is where the water is released from the dam and has become a popular fishing location with a universally accessible fishing platform. 

The downstream tail waters are considered one of the best trout fisheries in southeastern Pennsylvania and are managed as a Delayed Harvest Artificial Lure Area

There are trails for every type of activity at Blue Marsh. The multi-use, 30 mile Blue Marsh Lake Trail encircles the lake and is recognized as a National Recreation Trail. You can hike, bike or ride a horse. Skinners Loop and Foxtrot Hiking Trail are connected to the multi-use trail, and will bring you closer to the water's edge. The Squirrel Run Nature Trail is near the State Hill Boat Ramp. There also is a universally accessible Eyes of the Eagle Sensory Trail and the Great Oak Nature Trail located within the Day Use Area. The Union Canal Connector Trail provides visitors with a path to the Schuylkill River Trail and the Berks County Parks and Recreation Department trail system (horses are prohibited on this trail). 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Dogs are allowed at Blue Marsh Lake. Pets must be on a leash at all times within developed recreation areas, i.e. the Dry Brooks Day Use Area, within and around parking areas.
    ​Dogs are not allowed in the swim beach area, or around the concession stand and bathhouse area below Parking Lot F.
    Dogs are not allowed to swim around boat launches and boat beach areas, but may swim in other areas of the lake.
     
  • Dogs may be off leash while on the trail, only if they are under your control at all times by voice command. If your dog will not respond to your commands while off leash when encountering others, your dog should be on a leash at all times while on the trail. If your dog is not friendly towards other people or dogs, your dog should be on leash at all times while on the trail.
    Please remember to be courteous of other trail goers. Other people or their dogs may be afraid of your dog, or their dog may not be friendly towards others. Do not allow your dog to run up to others, as you never know what the situation may be ahead.
     
  • Always clean up after your pet. Dog waste bags are provided throughout park areas for your convenience and to help keep the environment healthy.
    Please dispose of all pet waste in proper receptacles. No one likes to look at poop bags while trying to enjoy nature.
     
  • Do not let your dog harass or chase wildlife.

Blue Marsh Lake is open 365 days a year. The Dry Brooks Day Use Area (Swim Beach) and Visitor Center opens everyday at 8:00 AM and closes accordingly at dusk throughout the seasons.

There are no fees charged at Blue Marsh Lake.

Pavilion rentals are done online through Recreation.gov. Search Blue Marsh Lake, Dry Brooks Day Use Area to see pavilion availability and submit payments. Pavilions are not available for rental on Sundays or Holiday Weekends. Pavilion costs range from $90 (Vista Pavilion) to $100 (Hillside and Lakeview Pavilions).

Alcohol possession and consumption is strictly prohibited anywhere on park property.

Grills are available on a first come first serve basis and are limited at the park. They require you to bring your own charcoal and fuel for use. You may bring your own grill to the park to use but must be elevated off the ground or tabletop so that it does not cause damage. Personal grills are not allowed in the towel/swim beach area.

Blue Marsh Lake does not offer any type boat or equipment rentals. There are local businesses in the area that provide kayak/canoe/paddleboard rentals and can be contacted for more information.

Blue Marsh Lake does not allow inflatable tubes unless they are used to tow behind a vessel for water recreation purposes. Floatables not allowed for use at the lake include but are not limited to tubes, arm swimmies/wings, pool rafts, noodles, boogie boards, etc. It is always recommended to wear a Coast Guard Approved Life Jacket when participating in any water recreation. #PleaseWearIt

There is no camping allowed on land or water anywhere on park property.

 

DAILY DAM DATA POST EXAMPLE:

Lake Elevation = Lake level based on elevation above sea level. Normal summer lake elevation is 290 ft, Normal winter lake elevation is 285 ft.

CFS = Cubic Feet per Second. The volume or the amount and rate of water that is flowing.

Inflow = Volume of water entering the reservoir.

Outflow = Volume of water being released from the dam at the Stilling Basin. If "==>" is present, the first number represents the current outflow, and the second number represents are target outflow for a scheduled gate change.

Stream Temperature = Water temperature being released from the dam, which can be different than the lake's surface water temperature, such as during the summertime.

Measured Precipitation = Amount of water vapor condensation that falls to the earth's surface measured on site, such as rainfall or snow.

QPF = Quantitative Precipitation Forecast is the total amount of expected precipitation. We present a 24 hour and a 3 day forecast.

Gate Change = Indicates if we will be adjusting the dam outflow and what the target outflow for that gate change will be.

Tulpehocken Creek Readings = Amount and rate of water that is flowing at specific gauge stations along the Tulpehocken Creek in downstream areas.

Operations to bring the water level back up to the summer recreation pool elevation, 290 ft, commences on or about April 1st with a target completion date of April 15th.
These target dates may change due to inflow or operational needs.
Courtesy boat docks are reinstalled sometime during the reservoir filling process.

The winter drawdown from the summer recreation pool elevation, 290 ft,  to the winter pool elevation, 285 ft, commences on or about October 15 with a target completion date of November 1st.
These target dates may change due to inflow or operational needs.
Courtesy boat docks will be removed for the winter season sometime during the drawdown process.

The lake remains open year-round for boating after the docks are removed.

Contact & Directions

Blue Marsh Lake Office
1268 Palisades Drive
Leesport, PA 19533-9750
610-376-6337
Email

Direction Links
Visitor Center
Dry Brooks Day Use Area (Swim Beach)
Dry Brooks Boat Launch
Stilling Basin
State Hill Boat Launch
Sheidy Boat Launch

Volunteers

Are you or your organization interested in volunteering at Blue Marsh Lake? 

Submit your inquiries or completed Volunteer Application using the link below.

Volunteer Contact

Programs & Events

Guided Hike - State Hill Overlook Loop
Start Date/Time:
Saturday, October 29, 2022 10:00 AM
End Date/Time:
Saturday, October 29, 2022 12:00 PM
Recurring Event:
One time event
Importance:
Normal Priority
Description:

Meet at the State Hill Boat Launch Single Vehicle Lot, 599 Brownsville Road, Sinking Spring PA. 
Join us on a guided hike through the newly completed State Hill Overlook Loop Trail to experience a rolling trail through the woods with excellent views of the lake and forest., The hike distance will be easy to moderate and approximately 1.5 miles.
Facebook Event Information

Owned by Brianna Treichler On Saturday, August 13, 2022

Wearing A Life Jacket Can Save Your Life
To ensure that you survive unexpected slips or falls overboard wear your life jacket, because it buys you time to be rescued.  It only takes an adult an average of 60 seconds to drown and on average it takes 10 minutes for a strong swimmer to put on a life jacket after entering the water.  If you will not wear it for yourself then wear it for those who love you. Life Jackets Worn…Nobody Mourns, learn more by following Please Wear It on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.