Barbara Dreyer and her husband, Ed, have been on Lake Jordan so long that they were able to name their street. The name – WELUVIT Lane – says it all. They love it on Lake Jordan and are some of the lake’s biggest supporters. They have been living on the lake since 1973 and Barbara’s been at the center of most activities there for decades.
In 1991, she gathered a group of her friends and began the lake’s first HOBO (Home Owners Boat Owners Association), hoping to take a more active role in the lake’s preservation.
“We had heard about lakes all over the country that had become so polluted they couldn’t be used,” Dreyer said. “And we didn’t want that to happen to ours. It was not that we had any major problem – it was that we didn’t want a problem.”
The group’s first annual cleanup of the lake took place in September 1991. Shortly thereafter, Doug Powell – now retired from Alabama Power Company, but who was a staff environmental specialist for the company – made efforts to get more involved in cleanup efforts after speaking to the group. Today, because of Powell’s early participation many cleanups are coordinated in conjunction with the Alabama Power Renew Our Rivers program.
Lake Jordan, Alabama’s Hidden Gem
Lake Jordan is a bit of a hidden Alabama gem, but fishing has attracted the Bassmaster Classic Tournament and the lake is active throughout the summer season with sailing, watersports and kids from the nearby YMCA Camp Chandler. “We feel like (Lake Jordan) is one of the greatest lakes in the state, if not the country,” Dreyer said.
Dreyer, who was raised in the Wetumpka area, takes pride in a lake she’s seen evolve over the past several decades. “The biggest change (I saw) was when the power company started selling the lots to the people,” she said. “People bought (houses) and started upgrading. It brought about a real good improvement to the lake to have a lot of these houses that were just not in the best of shape torn down and have new houses put in. People felt like before, when the land was not theirs that it could be taken from them at any time. But once they bought the land, then they were ready to put more investment into it.”
Beyond the beauty, serenity and quality fishing Lake Jordan has to offer, Dreyer loves the bonds that connect people on the lake. “We have a really good slough. We have good, good neighbors, and we help each other out. It really is a community up here,” Dreyer said of the lake, which features fishing-friendly Blackwell Slough and Swayback Slough in addition to Dreyer’s own Blue Heron Slough. “We’re not so spread out. We’re close, both in proximity and as folks’ neighbors. It just encourages more community feeling.”
As the original group of HOBOs who helped turn around the lake properties age, Dreyer says younger people have begun investing their time in their longtime efforts.
“Our biggest challenge is trying to keep people motivated with the cleanup. It’s not just important now, but for generations to come. We have to keep it clean so that we won’t have that problem of pollution,” said Dreyer.
Lake Jordan doesn’t maintain its beauty through the efforts of a few; it takes an army of passionate volunteers. “One person doesn’t do this,” said Dreyer. “It takes a lot of people working to get it done, and it also takes the support of local businesses.”
That neighborly obligation, combined with the lake’s beauty, helps explain the attachment people like Dreyer have found to an out-of-the-way lake without any restaurants. When she speaks about Lake Jordan, Dreyer’s voice takes on a blend of humble words with a tone of unmistakable pride. “It’s a beautiful lake. It’s just the right size for me,” Dreyer said, chuckling. “I love it.”
To learn more about how you can participate in Lake Jordan cleanup efforts or to learn how to become a member of the lake’s HOBO group, contact Barbara Dreyer at (334) 567-7551.
Some things to see and do at Lake Jordan
According to Barbara Dreyer, there are two great spots where a visitor can appreciate the lake’s scenery: at the launching point near the dam, which looks up the lake, and at another spot called Bonner’s Point, which looks down the lake.
Bring your tackle box
Lake Jordan is famed for its fertile fishing waters – especially for bass – with both regional and local experts recommending the “New Lake” created by Bouldin Dam on the south end of the lake, as well as the grassy Blackwell, Weoka Mill and Swayback sloughs.
Birds in Flight
If you are lucky, you might see osprey and blue heron nests near Shady Acres on a little island called Goat Island.
Go for local color
Check out Lake Jordan Marina, the only operating marina on the lake, for some dockside service and the best 4th of July party on the lake – featuring Dr. Foster’s Band.
Hike the lake
Swayback Bridge is closed to car traffic, but is wonderful to hike or bike across, and connects adventurers to some of the best hiking and mountain biking trails in the area.