The Blue Mountain Lake Island Stewards will have a new boat for the 2018 season thanks to the Blue Mountain Lake Fund. The old boat was notably leaky.
The stewards monitor the state-owned islands and Castle Rock, educating the public in proper, legal and environmentally-sensitive practices. The stewards also monitor the lakes of the Eckford Chain for invasive species as well as educate the public in ways to reduce the spread of invasives.
The Blue Mountain Lake Island Stewardship program was established in 1999 when the Hochschild family transferred the lake’s central islands, including Rock, Sea Gull, the Birches, Osprey and Long Islands, plus Castle Rock and its nearby shoreline, to the state for addition to the Adirondack Forest Preserve. A portion of the proceeds were set aside to perpetually fund an island steward. Since then, community contributions in response to annual appeals have come to provide a significant portion of the budget, allowing expansion to a second steward.
Originally the island steward was a student hired for the summer and coverage was five days a week from late June to mid-August. Today, the second steward allows seven-day coverage in the summer and weekend patrols in June, September and October. This year, two experienced stewards are returning for their third seasons: Jake Collins, a student in Environmental Studies at SUNY Potsdam, and Tim Leach, a retired high school teacher and coach.
The Blue Mountain Lake Island Stewardship Advisory Committee is composed of Blue Mountain Lake residents and stakeholders. The Blue Mountain Lake Fund, managed by the Community Foundation headquartered in Utica, is a donor-directed fund to benefit the shores and waters of the Eckford Chain of Lakes.
Administrative support for the Island Stewards Program is provided by Protect the Adirondacks.
Photo of Stewards Tim Leach and Jake Collins with the new boat.