All four of the Hudson Lakes are situated on the Hammond Lake Esker, a unique geomorphological feature that consists of a large area of sand and gravel, surrounded by typical Precambrian shield features of rocks and lakes and heavily forested bush. The lakes are spring-fed, and one of the main attractions for residents is the many natural sand beaches. Water quality is excellent in all four lakes.
All four lakes are popular fishing spots, with pickerel, northern pike, bass, perch, speckled trout, and other species caught in the various lakes. Twin Lakes once had a large Lake Trout population, but that species has been fished out. In the 1980s, Bartle Lake was stocked with Speckled Trout.
There are no commercial establishments on any of the lakes, and no public access except for a small recreation park at Pike Lake that is owned by the township.
The Hudson Lakes watershed contains many kilometres of trails that are used by snowmobiles, ATVs, hikers, X-C skiers, and small game hunters. Moose, deer, and black bear are abundant in the area, as well as a large number of smaller mammals and birds.
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Twin Lakes consists of two quite different sections of lake separated by a 1.5 km narrows. Upper Twin is situated in the Esker, while Lower Twin is situated mostly in the Precambrian area.
Twin Lakes, by virtue of its proximity and easy access to New Liskeard, was first settled in 1902, and in 2008 has 111 residences, of which 19 are permanent year-round. There are no homes or cottages on Lower Twin, which is mostly crown land. A private nine-hole golf course was constructed in 2006-07 partly on private property and partly on crown land.
Twin Lakes (and the other three lakes in Hudson Township) are well serviced with power (Ontario Hydro) and telephone (Northern Telephone Company), and more recently with high-speed internet.
Upper Twin is fed mainly by springs rising from the Esker. A small stream flows into the lake from Fairy Lake, which is also fed by springs. Otherwise, there are no significant streams flowing into the lake. One stream flows out of Twin Lakes into Pike Lake.
Fairy (Frere) Lake is a small spring-fed lake with sandy beaches. The first summer cottages were built in the 1920s, with most built in the 1950s. There are currently 29 property owners on the lake, of which 11 are year-round residents.
In the 1940s the Kiwanis Club established a children’s camp that was made available to disadvantaged children, and was also used as a Scout camp. In 1955, it was purchased by the Anglican Church. The camp now has a dining hall, a pavilion, four sleep cabins, and a new (2007) washroom/shower/laundry facility.
The Craven Rock area in the South West corner of Fairy Lake and a significant amount of surrounding woodlands were owned for years by the Craven family. Before she died Nora Craven caused Craven Rock Trust to be formed. This is a limited corporation, the members of which are land owners on Fairy Lake or their spouses or children. It has 4 directors elected annually by the members. Nora then transferred the land to this corporation, along with some funding to start it off. Not only did she transfer the 5.5 acres comprising the Rock area, she also transferred another 55 acres of back lands extending out to the “B” Road on one side, and 19 acres across the “A” Road extending from the forks to the golf course. The “B” Road lands extend out to the currently controversial clear cut/proposed gravel pit at the forks. The Letters Patent of Craven Rock Trust provide as its main objective:
“to preserve, protect, restore and improve the natural resources and environment of the lands surrounding Frere Lake, locally known as Fairy Lake.”
Craven Rock Trust is carrying out this objective by protecting these lands in perpetuity from development and ensuring they will be there for the enjoyment of the Fairy Lake residents and the users of Roads “A” and “B”. Presently 26 of the 29 property owners on Fairy Lake are members of Craven Rock Trust. Each contributes $50 per year for taxes and expenses. In addition they are working on building up a reserve fund. Each summer there is an annual meeting to elect directors and to express any concerns. The Trust has erected a plaque on the Rock stating “A Gift to the People of the Lakes. Donated by Miss Nora Craven & Family”.
Pike Lake was first settled in 1922 by the Villneff family who established a small farm on the property. In the 1970s, the Villneff lot was subdivided, and some 17 small lots were established. In 2008, there are 17 permanent homes on the lake, all on the north and east shore, and one summer home.
In the 1960s, the Township purchased part of the Villneff lot as a public park. The park has 1,700 feet of lake frontage, and now contains a ball diamond, picnic shelter, washrooms, and a boat launching ramp. The park is maintained by the township.
Pike Lake is fed by a stream from Twin Lakes. Much of the unoccupied south end of the lake is shallow with extensive reed beds, and is home to many migratory birds; a significant heron rookery (designated a protected area by the MNR) is situated on the west side of the lake. The MNR conducts bird banding on this lake in the fall. The lake drains out through Pike Creek, which eventually flows into the Wabi River system and Lake Temiskaming.
Bartle Lake is a small spring-fed lake with sandy beaches. The first summer home was built in 1950, and at present, there are 24 year-round and seasonal homes. There are nine permanent homes on the lake.
In the 1970s, the lake was poisoned by the MNR to wipe out the indigenous species of fish, and then stocked with Speckled Trout. These trout can still be caught in Bartle Lake.