Starting in 2011, the DEC will maintain a “carry in – carry out” policy, said David Winchell.
“This is the system that is used in the rest of the forest preserve,” he said.
The decision to discontinue garbage collection was made to save money, said Winchell: “Due to funding reductions to the Department of Environmental Conservation from the state’s historic budget shortfall, all DEC programs are seeking ways to reduce operating costs while still providing the basic services.”
According to Winchell, the island campsites are more expensive to operate than other camp grounds, and garbage collection increases those costs.
“The DEC recognizes that this is somewhat of an inconvenience for some campers, however, the costs for operating the campgrounds must be reduced to avoid other steps that campers are less receptive to, such as raising rates or reducing the number of campsites,” said Winchell.
Erich Neuffer, a Bolton Landing deli owner who operates the Glen Island commissary as a concession, said his contract with the state requires the DEC to collect garbage and recyclables from the store.
But his contract expires at the end of 2010 and he said he had no definite plans to renew it.
New York State began collecting garbage from the islands in 1955, a service that provided summer employment to hundreds of local youths.
“People told us we were the hardest working state employees they had ever seen, said Kam Hoopes, who worked on the barges in the 1970s
A petition has been circulated among the island campers calling upon the state to maintain the service
Approximately 700 signatures have been collected at the Glen Island store and sent to DEC, said Marie Marallo of Rutland, Vermont.
“This decision will be devastating to Lake George and the beautiful land and water,” said Marallo.
Marallo said she fears people will ignore the “carry in- carry out” policy and leave their garbage on the islands, or throw it into the lake.
“I was told that people have made the comments that they will just bring burlap bags, put the trash in them, weight them and then throw these into the lake,” said Marallo.
Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky said he would urge the DEC to reconsider adopting the new policy.
“The new policy is not lake-friendly,” he said. “It will lead to a lot of rubbish problems.”
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