Rounding Out Half Moon

city has some big plans for our crescent-shaped lake

Thom Fountain, photos by Andrea Paulseth

LAST ONE IN HAS TO DRAFT REVITALIZATION PLANS! The Eau Claire Waterways Plan calls for increased trails and access to Half Moon Lake.
LAST ONE IN HAS TO DRAFT REVITALIZATION PLANS! The Eau Claire Waterways Plan calls for increased trails and access to Half Moon Lake.

Half Moon Lake used to be a river. Well, part of a river. Way back when – probably in 18th century – the oxbow lake was separated from the Chippewa River. But Eau Claire has tried its hardest to ensure the lake is still connected to the river through the myriad of biking and walking trails that run through Eau Claire and the city is looking at extending those trails around the whole of our disconnected lake.

The plan to have a path that circles Half Moon Lake is not a new idea; it’s been included in discussions for years and is a major part of the Carson Park improvements suggested in the Eau Claire Waterways Plan, which was updated this year. The hope is that the current multi-use path will be extended around the northern, western, and southern sides to complete the loop.

The completion should lead to greater use of the trail, which means more people can see – and appreciate – Half Moon Lake. Along with the increased trail use, the plan calls for increased views along Cameron Street.

According to the Waterways Plan, the western side of the lake will have a mixed-use road and trail along the Lakeview Cemetery. Along the southwestern corner of the lake, the trail will cross through already owned city property and at the south entrance the plan proposes “enhanced landscaping, signage and man-made improvements that say ‘gateway.’”

The city already owns much of the property around the lake, with the exception of a few residences. Most recently the City Council discussed the purchase of 813 Cameron St., which is one of the still privately owned properties. The city has no intention of pressuring owners out, but have expressed interest if the owners are willing to sell. The property was most currently valued at $131,900. If acquired by the city, the property would join 809 Cameron St., which was donated for trail use over four years ago in 2008.

Along with improvements around the lake, a second fishing pier is proposed to increase the sporting aspect of the water.
All of this trail building and improved access and placemaking is designed to increase the use of Half Moon Lake by Eau Claire residents and visiters so that even if it was abandoned by the Chippewa River way back when, we’ll still be around to keep it company.

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