Lake Chaubunagungamaug

Lake Chaubunagungamaug is situated close to the Connecticut boundary in the town of Webster in southern Worcester County, in the US State of Massachusetts. Before the arrival of the English settlers, the lake was known by its longer name of forty-five letters comprising fourteen syllables: Char­gogg­a­gogg­man­chaugg­a­gogg­chau­bun­a­gung­a­maugg. Under this name, the lake became famous as the place with the longest name for a geographical spot in the entire nation and the single-word third-longest place name in the world. Since many people struggle to pronounce either of these two names and also because the lake is located in the town of Webster it is commonly referred to as Webster Lake. With a picturesque landscape, gorgeous trees, summer cottages that spread across the lakefront, and a splendid shoreline, the lake is a perfect spot for vacationing. 

Geography Of Lake Chaubunagungamaug

The long name of Lake Chaubunagungamaug written on a overpass in Webster, Massachusetts
The long name of Lake Chaubunagungamaug written on a overpass in Webster, Massachusetts. Image Credit: Sensboston, via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Chaubunagungamaug has a length of 5.23 km and a maximum width of 1.811 km. The lake covers a surface area of 5.84 sq. km, and has a 27 km long shoreline along southern Massachusetts. It has an average depth of 4.0 m and reaches a maximum depth of 15 m. After the Quabbin Reservoir and Long Pond, Lake Chaubunagungamaug is Massachusetts' third-largest body of freshwater. The lake is segregated into three smaller ponds called North Pond, South Pond, and Middle Pond all connected by narrow channels. Although originating from a natural source, it has an outlet that leads to a dam raising its water level by about two feet. Currently, the dam is owned by Webster Lake Preservation LLC.  

Birch Island on Lake Chaubunagungamaug
Birch Island on Lake Chaubunagungamaug. Image Credit: Pub, by Perkins & Butler. Inc., Worchester, Mass. Tichnor Bros. Inc., Boston, Mass., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The lake has about seven to eight islands, a few that are very small and uninhabitable but some are habitable with houses on them. Among the islands that are habitable are the Middle Pond islands – the largest, Long Island which has an electric power supply, municipal water, fire hydrants, and sewer service in addition to homes, and the second largest, Goat Island which has a few boats and homes. The other islands of the lake are Well Island, Strip Island, Cobble Island, Little Island, Birch Island, and Small Island (also called Misery or Skunk Island). The lake’s two marinas are Lakeview Marine and Point Breeze, the former has a service shop and marine store on the lake while the latter has a restaurant and a dockside gas pump on the lake.

Ecology Of Lake Chaubunagungamaug

The bottom of the lake has deep holes, sub-aquatic plateaus, and rocky shoals. The shallow bottom has a wide surface area and is mostly rocky and muddy with patches of thick aquatic vegetation, an ecosystem that allows aquatic wildlife including many fish to thrive and flourish in the lake. This ecosystem provides the fish with food like weeds, algae, insects, worms, leeches, snails, bivalves, and crayfish, therefore making the lake an excellent fishing spot. 

The various species of fish found in the lake are landlocked alewife, white sucker, yellow bullhead, brown bullhead, redbreast sunfish, pumpkinseed, bluegill, black crappie, white perch, yellow perch, chain pickerel, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass. Fish are abundant from June to August which are summer months and the availability of fish decreases during the cold months of December to March. The lake freezes during the winter months but ice fishing is possible in areas where the ice is up to six inches thick. The top bird species spotted at the lake are the American Crow, Mallard, Ring-Billed Gull, Canadian Goose, and American Robin. Some species of plants that grow at the lake are Canadian Clearweed, Virginia Creeper, Twoleaf Watermilfoil, and Wild Sarsaparilla.

Attractions In Lake Chaubunagungamaug

Boats in Lake Chaubunagungamaug.
Boats in Lake Chaubunagungamaug. Image Credit: Bree from Worcester, MA, USA, via Wikimedia Commons

The lake as a natural resource provides for some peaceful exploration, water activities, and outdoor adventures such as kayaking, boating, camping, and swimming. During the summers, the lake is busy and fully equipped for recreational use. Walking along the shoreline is more fascinating because of the little cozy cottages along the shore. Two public boat ramps, boat rentals, a marina, and camping sites are available at the lake. 

If visitors wish to explore beyond the lake, a few of the exciting spots to explore and enjoy around the lake area include Memorial Beach for a family fun time, Midstate Trail for hiking and backpacking, Wallum Lake for fishing, Quabbin Reservoir for exploring the reservoir and its observation tower, Point Breeze for a breathtaking view of the place, Zoar Outdoor Adventure Resort for outdoor activities, Lake Quinsigamond for fishing, boating, and rowing, Leffingwell House Museum, and Barnaby Castle for some great historic explorations. 

Lake Chaubunagungamaug sign
Lake Chaubunagungamaug sign. Image Credit: Bree from Worcester, MA, USA, via Wikimedia Commons

It is amusing for those who visit the place to notice that all sign boards in the town have the full name of the lake but many of them do not have the right spelling. In the 1950s authorities tried to shorten the name of the lake but that was met with strong resistance by the locals. While the lake is famous because of its scenic views and the availability of so many different activities, people are also drawn to the lake simply because of its long and unusual name.

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