Love Story for the Land
“I fell in love with this place when I fell in love with my husband. He’s been in love with this place since he was a little boy.”
Together, Elizabeth and Michael Drummond have many years’ worth of fond memories of their land: 236 acres surrounding the pristine Ungers Lake in Wayne County, PA. Michael brought Elizabeth here for the first time in 1967, just two weeks after they met—his parents and grandparents had both rented homes on the adjoining Lake Florence, and his parents were working on building one of their own. Michael’s family had first started visiting the lake in the 1950s, and he and his brothers spent their summers fishing the lake and roaming through the woods.
The Drummonds purchased their current vacation home from Michael’s parents in 1981, and in 2015 acquired their additional acreage around the adjoining lake from the Unger family, the first generation of landowners who had owned the property since the 1840s. Though it was known in the community as Ungers Lake, it was never officially registered as such—and the surviving member of the family that sold them the property told the Drummonds that her grandfather had called it Lake Elizabeth, as it has now been officially registered. Elizabeth describes it as a “dream come true.”
While their two children were growing up, the Drummonds would visit their lake home every other weekend—even wintry weather wouldn’t stop them. At that time, they were the only winterized house on the lake, and they would snowshoe in, pulling their kids on the sled and taking their snowmobile over the mountain and into town when they needed to.
Their grandchildren are now carrying on the family tradition. “We offered to take them to Florida for Easter, but they want to come here,” Elizabeth laughs. “Whatever the weather, the kids go crazy for it. They learned to ice skate here, we cross-country ski—and I can’t tell you how many miles we’ve walked around the lake. It’s wonderful, having the family love this place as much as we do.”
It was this love for their land that drove them to work with the Delaware Highlands Conservancy to permanently protect it. They felt strongly that they wanted to keep the property forested, and reserved only a small portion to build a home for their family to visit. “The man who sold it to us couldn’t believe we weren’t going to develop it,” Elizabeth explains.
Because of the land protection agreement that is now on the property, it will always remain forested—protecting the pristine water quality in the lake, and providing important habitat for wildlife. The water that drains from Lake Elizabeth eventually flows into the Lackawaxen River and to the Delaware River. The lake is especially unique because it’s not fed by a stream, but by a wetland—and the berry bushes that surround it make it a haven for black bears.
About the land, Elizabeth explains, “We don’t want to change it. We don’t plan to clear any more than we need to. Not every tree needs to be pretty—the animals like them that way. They need them.”
For the Drummonds, protecting their land provides the assurance that as future generations of children and grandchildren visit their property, they will still be able to swim and fish in the same clean waters, explore the woods, and create their own special memories.