The Morris County Park Commission owns many parcels of land and water that lie within the boundaries of Jefferson Township especially along Weldon Road – The Mahlon Dickerson Reservation, Saffin Rock-Rill Reservation, the SnoBowl property, and the William G. Clark Fishing Education Pond. But who was William G. Clark?
Born in Cleveland, Mr. Clark lived in the Lake Hopatcong section of Jefferson Township for 20 years. A Marine Corps veteran from 1961 to 1965, he received the Good Conduct Medal 1st Award, Rifle Expert Badge and Pistol Marksman Badge. Bill Clark was a parts manager for several GM automotive dealerships and later became the Field Operations Director of the Lake Hopatcong Commission in Landing. He was a long time member, trustee, and advocate of the Knee Deep Fishing Club.
Bill was an avid outdoorsman and was also considered an outdoor activist, lobbying for protected waters, preservation education and sportsmen’s rights. A lifelong fisherman, later in his life, Clark enjoyed organizing fishing derbies for children and maintained memberships with Trout Unlimited, the Muskies Inc. and the Knee Deep Club of Lake Hopatcong. While the date is unclear, he started the Youth Fishing Derby associated with the celebration of the annual Jefferson Township Day activities. He was also an active member of the New Jersey Federation of sportsmen and the New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, Inc. of Pompton Plains, and a certified rifle, pistol and shotgun instructor for the National Rifle Association.
Clark died on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2006, at Morris Hills Center, Morristown at the age of 63.
A dedication ceremony was held at the Morris County Pond on Weldon Road (across the street from the main entrance of the Jefferson Township High School) on Saturday, July 14, 2007 naming the pond the William G. Clark Fishing Education Pond. As that was the date for Jefferson Township Day that year, the derby took place right after the ceremony, and The Fred S. Burroughs North Jersey Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Sparta, NJ has continued the derby every year with the most recent derby held on July 8, 2017 at the pond named after Clark.