3 of the “Deadliest” Lakes are in New York State
"Don't go in the water"; it's not just the catchphrase from Jaws, but a fitting warning about several lakes in our state. Out of the ten deadliest bodies of water in the entire country, three are in New York.
The Deadliest Lakes in New York
Each local lake is dangerous for a different reason, and none of them are the lake's fault. While bodies of water like Lake Michigan and Lake Mead have record numbers of drownings, New York has pollution, toxic plants, and terrifying carnivorous creatures to deal with instead.
Lake Champlain's Creepy Secret
Lake Champlain, which we share with Vermont and Canada, is hiding something under the surface that is straight out of a horror movie. An parasitic sea lamprey species (above) now inhabits the lake, and allegedly, it's hungry for more than plants and fish. While they generally "attach to fish, puncture the skin, and drain the fish's body fluids", there was a (non-confirmed) report of a swimmer being bitten in 2018.
Pollution in Onondoga Lake
In the 1800s, Onongaga Lake in Central New York was a pristine swimming destination. Then the factories game. Industrial pollution of the lake meant that by 1940, it wasn't safe for people to swim, and in 1970, it was deemed unsafe to fish as well. While massive cleanup efforts have helped (fishing was reinstated in the 1980s), you are still advised to keep your tootsies out of the water.
The "Dead Zone" in Lake Erie
Lake Erie, one of the majestic Great Lakes, has a deadly problem. Every year, famed toxic algae blooms not only prevent swimmers from enjoying the water, but causes a massive "dead zone" in the lake itself. The algae can cover over 6,000 square miles of the lake, blocking out sunlight and removing the oxygen that fish and other lake inhabitants need to live.
These lakes may have issues, but here's the good news: there are almost 8,000 bodies of water in New York, and most of them aren't trying to kill you. Let's start with one that comes with your very own lakeside mansion below.