The new Starbuckville Dam on the Schroon River was put into service this summer by the Schroon Lake Park District. The old deteriorated timber dam (a replacement for the dam someone dynamited in the 1890s) was replaced with a 158 foot long steel reinforced concrete overflow spillway (at the same elevation).
The old 16 foot gate was replaced with two 14 foot wide gates and a new a fish passage area was added along with a stepped spillway to reduce water turbulence below the dam. In the previous ten years five swimmers had been killed after being trapped in the backflow at the bottom of the dam.
Saving human and fish life are not the only advantages of the new dam. The Spring Paradox Lake Association Newsletter reported the following (thanks Tom):
Formerly, someone would have to go down to the dam and open the 16-foot gate by hand. It took almost a half a day to get the gate open. The new spillway is 51 feet longer than the old spillway, and there are two 14-foot gates for a total of 28 feet of gate rather than the single 16-foot gate we used to have. Not only that, but one of the gates is totally automatic and takes only 15 minutes to open instead of half a day. The second gate, while not automatic, can also be opened in 15 minutes. Joe tells me that they are discussing making the second gate automatic as well. The impact for us in Paradox [Lake] is that Schroon River floodwaters will not back up into Paradox as much as they did. The river will be flushed through Schroon Lake much more rapidly and thus will not rise as high as it did formerly when flushing water out at the South end of Schroon was much slower and more difficult. When Paradox Lake does experience a rise in water level, it will also fall much more quickly.
And while we’re on the subject – we’ll point you to Mary Randall’s The Ghost of Starbuckville Dam.