Monday, April 22, 2024

Who’s Who In Cranberry Lake: Scott McWharf

Scott McWharf

Adirondack Almanack contributor, Susan Sweeney Smith, who has written stories about Cranberry Lake, has shared a series of profiles highlighting Cranberry Lake community leaders who dedicate much of their time and energy to volunteer work. These profiles were originally published on the Cranberry Blog. Check out the Cranberry Blog here, and please enjoy Susan’s second submission, a profile on Scott McWharf below.

Scott McWharf

President, Cranberry Lake North Shore Hub,
President, Dam Commission,
Volunteer Member of CL Fire Department

What brought you to Cranberry Lake? When? When you first came, did you think you’d end up staying here?
I came here in 1993 to work for the DOT and ended up as Highway Maintenance Supervisor for the region. I loved that job – loved being sure everyone was safe on our state roads.

Have you had any other jobs while you have lived here?
I have been a Commissioner for the Dam for 15 years. I’m very proud of that. We would not have a lake without the hard work of the Dam Commission over the years. We are in the middle of a major renovation project that will ensure the dam is safe for generations.
I run a campfire wood business with my wife June and my son Brayden. We love doing that together. We love doing everything together.

What was your first volunteer activity?
My first volunteer role was in the Fire Department – I joined because I wanted to be an active member of the community and help out where I could. That has meant everything from going on fire calls to organizing the barbecues.

How many volunteer jobs have you had here?
Fireman – Volunteer of the Year in 1999 / Citizen of the Year 2022
President of the HUB since 2018 when the project began
I’ve helped many other projects including helping senior citizens with mail and lawn mowing and whatever tasks I can do.

Why do you volunteer?
Because I care. My family is here. My friends are here. This place matters to me. Cranberry has been good to me. Pay it forward.

What brought you to the HUB project?
My neighbor Denise Barstow had already been recruited. She came to me and my wife June and, well, you don’t say no to Denise. It was clear that the town needed that church property to shine – to provide docks, community space and something we could all do together to
improve this place we love. We didn’t need another beautiful camp. We needed a HUB of community activity and so that’s what we created.

What are you most proud of at the HUB?
That it has been a collective community effort. So many people have been involved – giving money, time and advice. I think everyone I know has played some role. Community involvement is really important to me and I’m very proud of this community and this project.

Why are you still here in Cranberry Lake now that you’ve retired?
My family loves it here. My son, Brayden, is in school and we think that is a good experience for him. My friends are here. My life is here. Why move somewhere else? Everything you really need is here if you look for it.

What are the best memories you have of Cranberry?
All the people who have passed through and who live here. Getting to know them and listening to their story about why they are here. I talk to hundreds of people every year at my wood rack.

What do you hope for the future here?
That this community does not fade away – that it remains viable and a meaningful place to visit and raise a family. I love the year round hardy folks who make a go of it here and the people who come here to enjoy the beauty around us.

Photo at top: Scott McWharf. Photo provided by Susan Sweeney Smith.

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Susan Sweeney Smith grew up in Peru, NY and is a 28 year resident of Cranberry Lake. She raised kids and donkeys and dogs and cats in the hamlet. During her professional career she worked in philanthropy and community relations for North Country Public Radio, SUNY Potsdam and supported a host of smaller nfp’s in the region with their philanthropic projects. Today, she’s a community volunteer who believes in Cranberry Lake magic. You can find her writing at

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