Boaters on Adirondack waterways will be a lot more likely to be questioned about whether they are transporting invasive species at local boat launches this year thanks to a boost in funding for two water steward programs. The Watershed Stewardship Program at Paul Smith’s College will nearly quadruple its workforce across the central Adirondacks this year while the Lake George Association is also expanding its coverage at Lake George.
With the help of a grant from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Paul Smith’s stewards will help protect three major recreational areas: Saratoga Lake; the Lake Placid, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake region; and the Fulton Chain of Lakes in the Old Forge area. The Lake George Association’s Lake Steward Program on Lake George will also significantly expand over last year’s level thanks to new funding provided by the Lake George Park Commission. » Continue Reading.
Look what we’ve been missing since our twenties! At some point during that decade we decided to avoid Lake George Village in the summer season. Too much traffic, too crowded, too expensive, what – pay for parking! When we sat at the lakeside bar at Shepard’s Cove on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, Pam took in the breeze from the open doors and windows, cast her glance out on the lake, listened to solo act Rich Ortiz playing his acoustic music and felt she had been cheating herself all those years. Our bartender, Jonny, flattered us by insisting on seeing our ID’s. We knew immediately that he was going to be fun. We informed him of our purpose in visiting on that day, and after he and the other bartender finished ribbing us about having to “work” on Memorial Day weekend, we ordered our drinks and took in the interior scenery.
We settled in immediately, relaxed and feeling for the first time on this quest like tourists on vacation. Shepard’s Cove, light and airy, has a distinct Caribbean beach house feel. Whitewashed pine walls trimmed in blue add a cool feel as a steady breeze finds its way through a wide opening to the spacious upper deck overlooking the lake. Another equally large deck resides on the lower level as well, with marina for those arriving by boat. Little thought seems to have gone into the decor, a confusing combination of a series of framed black-and-white celebrity photos and beer advertising giveaways; the ladies’ room pepto pink. A scattering of both high and low tables provide seating in addition to the wraparound bar, which seats approximately 25 people. A modest stage is located inside to accommodate the mostly local bands who contribute to the Lake George nightlife; an area on the deck for acoustic performers on a lazy afternoon.
Jonny answered our technical questions when time permitted. Reminiscent of a young bartender named Brian, whom Pam groomed during her former days as a regular at the Garrison, Pam plied Jonny for some of his favorite drink recipes. Her relationship with Brian had eventually culminated in a “drink of the day” game between them, and Jonny took the bait. Here are a few delicious concoctions he shared with us:
Jonny’s Raspberry Raspberry vodka Sour apple liqueur fresh lemon juice fresh lime juice cranberry juice 1 pkt sugar shaken over ice
Purple Rain Grape vodka Blue curacao cranberry juice
We indulged in Jonny’s Purple Rain with a friendly couple from downstate celebrating a birthday – always a good excuse for a shot (if you need an excuse). The drink prices were in the average range for Lake George – around $5.00 for a beer or simple mixed drink. Kim tried a beer (of course she did!) new to her – a Magic Hat Wacko Summer Seasonal. Malty, slightly sweet, with a mild hop flavor and a gorgeous soft watermelon color, it was light and quenching and complemented Jonny’s Raspberry perfectly. Pam instructed Jonny on the proper proportions to recreate the Grape Crush from the Barking Spider.
We did not have the opportunity to sample the food, but a glance at the menu divulged an assortment of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers and appetizers in the $6 to $10 range. Entrees include a variety of steaks, seafood, ribs and pasta ranging from $13 to $22.
We are primarily “Happy Hour” patrons and found Shepard’s Cove a perfect place to have lunch or spend an afternoon with family or friends. Our guess is that the patrons of the night are of a more youthful and energetic demographic, attesting to the versatility of Shepard’s Cove. We look forward to our rediscovery of Lake George.
Kim and Pam Ladd’s book, Happy Hour in the High Peaks, is currently in the research stage. Together they visit pubs, bars and taverns with the goal of selecting the top 46 bars in the Adirondack Park. They regularly report their findings here at the Almanack and at their own blog.
With an opportunity to bypass a trip to Vegas and be married by the King of Rock n’ Roll at the Lake George.com Elvis Festival, I feel it may be time to renew our wedding vows. My husband hates the idea but only slightly less than my Halloween wedding plan of dressing up as the bride and groom and being married by Beetlejuice.
In Lake George this weekend the Elvis Festival opens this Thursday, June 2 with a free tribute concert at Shepard’s Park starting at 7:30 p.m. According to Festival Director Jason Sherry the concert is family-friendly and gives a sampling of what the weekend festivities hold. “Not only will people be able to see tributes to Elvis, James Brown, Roy Orbison, Ricky Nelson but also Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond. The musicians are all tributes,” says Sherry. “Friday night is about Rock and Roll History, which is where all the other tribute artists come in. Saturday is Elvis all day long. Elvis will be on a boat, playing in restaurants and seen all around Lake George.”
Another activity families can look forward to is the Elvis Classic Car Parade. The parade starts at 9:00 a.m. on June 4th. The parade route starts at the high school and continues to the Lake George Forum. All the performers will be showing their stuff.
“We have set up the Forum to seat 2,100 people for our event,” says Sherry. “Some of the events are only $15 so there is a lot of variety for families. We also hold the Elvis Gospel Music Contest on June 5th. The event is free but we are asking for donations for United Way. We have always held one event for charity in the eight years that we have held this event. The past four years we have raised funds for the United Way.”
Sherry recommends people to stop by the Lake George Forum and pick up the $3.00 program which includes a complete schedule and all the free events.
With the hum of gospel music in the background you can set your own stage to be married by Elvis. Perhaps you can have your own themed wedding but I will only be able to watch from the stage as Pricilla Presley beehive hairdos fill the Lake George Forum.
Call 518-681-7452 for Elvis Festival tickets and more information.
Photo: An Elvis tribute performer courtesy LakeGeorge.com Elvis Festival.
The 2011 Lake Steward Program on Lake George, managed by the Lake George Association, will significantly expand over last year’s level thanks to new funding provided by the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC).
Lake stewards, posted at several Lake George boat launches throughout the summer, inspect incoming boats for invasive species, remove suspicious specimens, and educate boaters about the threats of invasive species and how to prevent their spread. The Commission’s marine patrol is contacted whenever stewards encounter a boat being launched that has obvious signs of invasive species and is unwilling to be inspected. » Continue Reading.
The Darrin Fresh Water Institute’s (DFWI) annual program of testing waters near municipal beaches and town shorelines for coliform contamination will be less extensive this summer than in years past, according to Larry Eichler, a DFWI Research Scientist.
According to Eichler, The Fund for Lake George has withdrawn its financial support for the program.
While some municipalities may assume the costs of sampling waters near beaches, no organization has stepped forward to fund the monitoring of shorelines, Eichler said. “The FUND for Lake George has contributed more than $300,000 in cost sharing for this program over the past 25 years,” said Eichler. “But while still supporting the efforts of this program, The Fund is unable to fund this program due to other committments.”
Those other commitments, explained Peter Bauer, the executive director of The Fund for Lake George, include exterminating invasive species like the Asian clam and financing the West Brook Conservation Initiative, which will protect the lake’s south basin from urban runoff.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to continue funding the program,” said Bauer. “While it’s time for The Fund to transition out of the program, the importance of monitoring public beaches should motivate local governments to adopt at least that part of the program.”
Bolton, Lake George Village, the Town of Lake George and Hague have agreed to consider adopting monitoring programs, said Eichler.
“Evaluation of bathing beach water quality provides a reminder that water quality is not guaranteed and that proper maintenance and surveillance of swimming areas remain critical,” said Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, the executive director of the Darrin Fresh Water Institute.
According Larry Eichler, DFWI can test sampled waters for Total Coliform (TC), Fecal Coliform (FC), and Fecal Streptococcus (FS) for as little as $30 per week. The Towns would be responsible for the costs of collecting the water samples.
New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation has tested the waters near state-owned beaches since the late 1980s, after the Million Dollar Beach was closed for three days in 1988 because of an excessive fecal coliform count.
The Darrin Fresh Water Institute has tested waters near municpal beaches every summer since 2002.
“The program was a low cost mechanism to provide assurances that the public beaches on Lake George posed no threats to the public,” said Larry Eichler.
“We continue to believe that this program provides a valuable service to the Lake George community through assurance of water quality at our public bathing beaches.”
Even before it began testing municipal beaches for coliform contamination, DWFI was sampling sites around Lake George for coliform bacteria, which are generally viewed as indicators of sewage leaks or other sources for nutrients, such as storm water.
“The Lake George Coliform Monitoring Program was designed to be a proactive water quality program,” said Eichler. “Prompt identification and remediation of wastewaters entering Lake George is one of the most efficient ways to protect water quality.”
Waters were evaluated at sites with chronically high levels of coliform bacteria or in areas where algae appeared, Eichler explained.
“We’re disappointed that The Fund could not continue to support the program, but we understand fiscal realities,” said Eichler.
Eichler said grants may permit the Darrin Fresh Water Institute to re-establish the colliform monitoring program in the future.
Photo: Darrin Fresh Water Institute
For more news from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror or visit Lake George Mirror Magazine.
To the casual observer, the Lake George Steamboat Company’s marine railway near the foot of the lake is unlikely to conform to any preconceived notion of a historic site.
Built in 1927 by Crandall Dry Dock Engineers, it’s a utility, used to haul vessels in and out of Lake George for repair, maintenance and storage.
But in the 19th century, almost every harbor on the eastern coasts of the United States and Canada had similar railways, almost all built by Crandall Dry Dock Engineers; the Crandall railway at Hart Bay is, according to New York State’s Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, among the few that remain intact and in operation today.
The New York State Board for Historic Preservation has, therefore, recommended that the railway be added to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The Board cast its votes when it met in March in New York, where it recommended adding thirty nine sites to the registers, including Fort George in Lake George.
“These nominations reflect many of the varied commercial, agricultural, political and social movements that have shaped New York State,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Bringing recognition to these properties will help us to preserve and illuminate important components of New York State history.”
According to Bill Dow, president of the Lake George Steamboat Company, the entire marine railway complex, which includes 390 feet of track under water, the cradle and the gears in the small frame head house, was nominated for the registers.
“Without the marine railway, the Lake George Steamboat Company could not have continued to operate through the Depression and the post-War eras,” said Dow.
According to Dow, the railway was constructed to haul the Sagamore from the lake for repairs.
On July 1, 1927 the Sagamore rammed the point of Anthony’s Nose, and began to sink. The captain, John Washburn of Ticonderoga, ordered that the hole in the hull be stuffed with mattresses. He then sailed her into Glenburnie, where she discharged her passengers, and then beached her in a small cove. After repairs were made at Hart Bay, she was refurbished, launched again in May 1928, and sailed for another five years.
According to the State Board of Historic Preservation, the Crandall Marine Railway complements the Lake George Steamboat Company’s Mohican, which was placed on the registry of Historic Places two years ago.
“Together, the railway and the excursion boat recall the nearly two century history of pleasure boating on one of the Adirondack Regions’ largest and most popular and accessible tourist destinations,” the State Board noted.
The Lake George Steamboat Company is now preparing an application to place the former Lake George train station on the registers of historic places.
Like the Steamboat Company, the station was owned by the D&H railroad, which built the station in 1909 in the same Spanish Colonial Revival style of architecture as its nearby hotel, the Fort William Henry.
“The Lake George Steamboat Company represents America, or the America of the past, as few companies do,” said Bill Dow. “We feel a responsibility to honor that past by preserving our legacy.”
Lake George has been lodging visitors at the site of the Fort William Henry Resort and Conference Center for more than 150 years. 156 years, to be precise.
Five years after the original hotel opened in 1855, the first Minnehaha was launched, and her captain entered into a relationship with the steward of the hotel’s dining room; as the boat came churning up the lake, the captain would blow the ship’s whistle once for every 10 passengers aboard, so that the steward would know how many would be in for dinner.
In 1868, the hotel was sold for $125,000 to T. Roessele & Sons of Albany and enlarged. A mansard roof was added and the hotel was now seven stories high. A 25 foot wide piazza extending the entire length of the north side of the building, supported by a row of 38 foot-high Corinthian columns, was also added. By then, steamboats were being met on the docks at the foot of the hotel’s lawns with 13 piece German bands. The hotel could accommodate 1000 guests; among them, former president U.S. Grant and Generals W.T. Sherman and Philip Sheridan, to name just a few of the celebrities who cooled themselves on the piazza. A twelve year-old Theodore Roosevelt accompanied his family to Lake George in 1871, and they, too, put up at the hotel. Roosevelt kept a diary of the visit, recounting each day’s activities. For instance, of August 2nd he writes:
”Early in the morning we went to the ruins of Fort George which we found after some difficulty. We brought home some specimens with us. There was an airgun before the hotel with which we had some shooting matches with variable success. There was an Indian encampment near which of course we visited. Then we hired some boats and rowed off to an island in the lake where we left the Ladies, went off some distance and had a swim. We then rowed back to the island (and then) home to dinner.”
A visitor during that same decade wrote:
”The coach is driven with a sweep and a swirl through the grounds of the hotel , and, suddenly turning a corner, dashes up before the wide and corridored piazza, crowded with groups of people – all superb life and animation on one side of him, and a marvelous stretch of lake and mountain and wooded shore on the other…”
The hotel opened for business in mid-June. Life there was pleasant and undemanding, if an 1893 account in the Lake George Mirror is any indication. “The hotel is supplied with every modern convenience, and there are billiard rooms, bowling alleys, swimming baths, lawn tennis courts, and music is provided throughout the season, there being also balls and parties at intervals.”
The Mirror continues: “The cuisine is always of the finest and cannot be improved upon, it being of a character to commend it to wealthy and fastidious people. The drives in the neighborhood, the fishing in the lake, and the boating and yachting, all contribute to make a stay at the Fort William Henry Hotel all that once could wish for… The outlook from the piazza is at all times little less than enchanting, commanding, as it does, the level reaches of the lake for miles, with a number of the most picturesque islands and promontories. In the evening, by full moonlight, or on a peaceful Sunday, while the orchestra discourses sacred music, and the only undertone is the flutter of cool dresses, dainty ribbons and fans, and the low voices of friendly promenaders, life here seems entirely worth living.”
The author of the Mirror’s account goes on to describe the interior of the hotel:
“Under the dome (from the upper part of which a grand view of the lake is obtained) is the general office, including also a ticket office, telegraph office, bazaar, news, book and cigar stand, etc. West of this is the drawing room, and on the east, suites of apartments, bijou parlors, and the large billiard hall, while at the back is the great dining hall. A cabinet of Indian and historical curiosities, gathered from the locality, attracts great interest.”
The hotel was owned by the Delaware & Hudson Railroad when it burned in June 1909, and two years later a new hotel was constructed on the site. In an article on the opening which appeared in the Lake George Mirror, the new structure was acclaimed “a masterpiece of architecture. With its companion hotel at Bluff Point on Lake Champlain, it shares the honor of being the only fireproof house in Northern New York devoted to the resort business.”
In another edition of the Mirror, an editorial described the lavish display of flowers and shrubs surrounding the new hotel and urged the natives to cooperate with the hotel in guarding the grounds against vandalism.
This hotel was demolished in the summer of 1969, the very same week that the Prospect Mountain Highway opened for the first time. In retrospect, the two events seem not co-incidental, since it was the automobile, more than any other single factor, which brought about the demise of the great resort hotels. The original dining room of the 1909 hotel, however, is still intact, as is the hotel’s stable.
Not long ago, a few lakeshore residents commemorated a one hundredth anniversary – that of the launching of the steamboat Sagamore.
The event took place at Pine Point in Lake George Village, and according to contemporary accounts, it drew the largest crowds to the village since the introduction of the trolley in 1901. Local schools were closed for the day so that children and their teachers could attend the great event.
The granddaughter of the Steamboat Company ‘s general manager, George Rushlow, was selected to christen the Sagamore. Someone suggested that the boat be christened with water from the lake – after all, it was said to have been exported to Europe for use as holy water – but that idea was vetoed on the grounds that old sailors believed that it was unlucky to christen a vessel with the same water in which the boat was to sail. Rushlow said that he did not want to “Hoo-doo the boat in the mind of any person.” So the traditional method of cracking a bottle of champagne on the bow was used instead. Elias Harris was the captain. At 74 years of age, the Sagamore was to be his last boat. (His son, Walter, was the pilot; Walter Harris became one of the first motorboat dealers on the lake; his Fay and Bowen franchise was the largest in the country.) Elias Harris began his career as a fireman on the Mountaineer, the boat that carried James Fenimore Cooper on the journey down the lake that inspired The Last of the Mohicans. He graduated to the post of pilot on the John Jay, which burned in 1856, killing six of the 70 passengers on board. On the deck of the Sagamore that day was a small anchor that had belonged to the John Jay, a memento Harris always kept with him.
The Sagamore was built to succeed the Ticonderoga, which burned at the Rogers Rock Hotel pier in August, 1901. The Ticonderoga was the last steamboat to be constructed entirely of wood, and the 1,25 ton Sagamore was the first steel-hulled steamer on Lake George. She was commonly regarded as the most luxurious boat ever to sail these waters; her saloon was finished in hazel with cherry trimming, corridors were paneled with mirrors and her furnishings were plush.
The Sagamore was almost an exact replica of Lake Champlain’s Chaeaugay and was powered by the same boilers and coal burning engines. (The engines were built by the Fletcher Company, which had a reputation for making engines fine enough to be preserved under glass.) The Chateaugay, which was launched in 1888, was the very first of the iron-hulled vessels. Later she would carry among her passengers a young Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose father, James Roosevelt, served for a time as president of the Champlain Transportation Company and the Lake George Steamboat Company, and become the first boat to ferry automobiles between New York and Vermont.
But whereas the Chateaugay sailed for more than forty years without any alterations, the Sagamore sailed for little more than six months before she was withdrawn from service. The builders of the Sagamore had given the boat more headroom between decks than the Chateaugay possessed, and that additional headroom made the Sagamore top heavy. The boat was put into dry dock and there she was cut in half amidships and lengthened by 200 feet. A set of ballast tanks was also installed forward of the wheelboxes. From then on, steamboatmen praised her for her easy handling. (In 1999 we would see another Lake George steamboat – the MinneHaHa – cut amidships and lengthened by 34 feet.)
The Sagamore could accommodate 1,500 passengers and traveled at a speed of 20 miles per hour. She left Lake George every day at 9:40 am and arrived at Baldwin three hours later, where it met the train for Fort Ticonderoga. She would berth at the Rogers Rock Hotel for three hours, and then return up the lake and deliver passengers to the 7:00 pm train to New York.
The late Dr. Robert Cole of Silver Bay recalled in the pages of the Mirror last summer that the Sagamore ferried the automobiles of travelers to points down the lake.
On July 1, 1927 the Sagamore rammed the point of Anthony’s Nose, and began to sink. The captain, John Washburn of Ticonderoga, ordered that the hole in the hull be stuffed with mattresses. He then sailed her into Glenburnie, where she discharged her passengers, and then beached her in a small cove. After repairs were made, she was refurbished, launched again in May 1928, and sailed for another five years.
Although no one knew it at the time, the early twenties would be the last prosperous years for the steamboats until they were revived as excursion boats for tourists after World War II. As America entered the Depression, operating deficits climbed into the hundreds of thousands.
The Sagamore was withdrawn from service in September 1933 but was not scrapped for another four years. In the meantime, she lay at Baldwin, falling into ruin. The George Loomis, superintendent of the Steamboat Company wrote that he went on board to salvage one of the mirrors but that the quicksilver had flaked off most of them. Karl Abbot, the general manager of the Sagamore resort, thought of tying her up to a wharf and turning her into a restaurant but apparently changed his mind. In the fall of 1937, the Sagamore was stripped of her gold leaf, wood paneling and rich furniture (upholstered arm chairs were sold for $5 a piece) and finally dismantled. With the destruction of the Sagamore, an era came to an end. People would continue to travel the lake on steamboats, but as tourists rather than as passengers bound for one of the great hotels, and never again in such stately luxury. After the Sagamore was scrapped, George Loomis committed suicide. The two events, friends said, were not unrelated.
Photos: The Sagamore after striking a rock at Glenburnie. The Sagamore at Cleverdale.
For more news from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror.
The environmental impacts of dredging the deltas that develop at the mouths of Lake George’s tributaries will receive a second look from conservation agencies and advocacy groups.
New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation has agreed to conduct the new review, which will include a study of methods to be used to dredge deltas around the lake, including those at the outlets of Hague, Finkle and Indian Brooks.
The review will constitute an update of the Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the “Lake George Delta Sediment Management/ Shoreline Restoration Project,” approved by the Lake George Park Commission in 2002. The Lake George Association has formally requested the new review, said Walt Lender, the LGA’s executive director.
“We were very involved in drafting the original Environmental Impact Statement, and we felt it was necessary to supplement the original by investigating new methods of dredging so they’ll be fully vetted,” said Lender.
The review should be completed by autumn, 2011, said Lender.
The decision to conduct a new review apparently resolves a deadlock over whether to dredge a delta at the mouth of Finkle Brook, in Bolton Landing.
The proposed method of dredging the delta, called mechanical dredging, was not one authorized when the original Environmental Impact Statement was approved, the Lake George Park Commission said in a resolution adopted in September.
The project as designed might have unintended environmental impacts, the Commission stated.
According to Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, who also objected to the plan to employ mechanical dredging, “While that method – using a steam shovel and scraping the lake bottom – may be the least expensive, it’s one that’s most damaging to the lake.” Walt Lender said he hoped mechanical dredging would be approved during the supplemental review so that it could be used at Finkle Brook and other sites around the lake.
According to Lender, an excavator builds its own “access pads” of dredged material as it moves out from shore. The excavator is then reversed, removing the sediment as it returns to shore. The sediment is then transported by truck to a nearby landfill.
Chris Navitsky, however, says the access pads are roads constructed in the lake which, even after they have been removed, will damage the lake and shoreline.
Navitsky also claims the dredging will allow nutrients to escape, creating algae blooms.
Photo: A large Lake George delta, this one at the mouth of English Brook in Lake George Village. Courtesy of Lake George Association.
For more news from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror or visit Lake George Mirror Magazine.
Lake George Village will borrow $1.8 million to comply with orders issued by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation after a July, 2009 sewer break spilled thousands of gallons of sewage into Lake George.
State laws prohibit the discharge of sewage into Lake George.
“It’s a lot of money, but it has to be done,” said Village Trustee John Root.
According to Mayor Bob Blais, the DEC ordered Lake George Village to repair pipes and the pump station in Shepard Park where the break occurred and complete an Asset Management Plan for the entire wastewater system. The plan, the order stated, must include: “an inventory of all wastewater collection system assets; an evaluation of conditions; a description of necessary repairs or replacements; the schedule for repairs; costs of repairs.”
Dave Harrington, the Village’s Superintendent of Public Works, said crews from Lake George Village’s Department of Public Works and the construction firm TKC completed repairs to the pump station in Shepard Park and a new section of pipe where the break occurred was installed. Village crews also installed additional alarms within the pump building, Harrington said.
In November of 2009, the Lake George Village Board of Trustees appropriated $5000 to retain C.T. Male Associates to draft the Asset Management Plan.
That plan has been completed and approved by the DEC, and the improvements to the wastewater collection system can now be undertaken, said Blais.
“We will be lining the pipes along the lake, in line with the recommendations of DEC in the order, to alleviate problems so that something like the 2009 break never happens again,” said Blais.
Where water from basements and drains and other sources is suspected of infiltrating the wastewater collection system, additional pipes will be lined and repaired, Blais said.
New York’s Environmental Facilities Corporation will help fund the $1.8 million loan, said Blais.
Lake George Village will repay it over thirty years, he said.
According to Blais, Lake George Village has also applied for a grant through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund to install equipment at the Wastewater Treatment Plant that will remove nitrogen from effluent.
“That’s not part of the Consent Order, but it is a way for us to upgrade the Wastewater Treatment plant and make it more efficient,” said Blais.
Without a grant from the EPF, the entire project could have cost as much as $3.8 million, said Village Clerk Darlene Gunther.
In return for complying with DEC’s Consent Order, the Village avoided thousands of dollars in fines, said Blais.
“DEC worked with us and was very helpful,” said Blais.
Photo: Aerial view of Lake George Village.
For more news from Lake George, subscribe to the Lake George Mirror or visit Lake George Mirror Magazine.
The allure of iceboating (hard-water sailing or ice yachting) in the Adirondacks dates back to the mid-1800s, though its peak surge of popularity was the 1940s to the 1970s. While iceboats have scooted across a variety of lakes, Lake George, Lake Champlain and Great Sacandaga Lake allow for the longest trips while offering the advantage of strong winds which not only propel the boats along at a good clip but also sweep the ice clean of snow.
One can imagine that “flying” across the ice at high speeds is not for the faint of heart. Goggles prevent the eyes from tearing up and protect them from stray ice chips; warm clothing staves off the biting wind. Should the boom suddenly snap across the boat, or the craft capsize on the hard ice, operators will appreciate the advantage of wearing helmets. For an adrenaline rush, this sport rates high on the list. These craft, riding on three steel blades and propelled by large wind-filled triangular sails plus the additional breeze created by the boat’s forward motion, can travel two to four times the velocity of the wind, some reaching speeds of 120 mph and higher.
Records reveal the names of some earlier Adirondack sailors: around 1900, Lee Palmer built and sailed a boat on Lake George, and Ernest Stowe built and sailed one on Upper Saranac Lake. Charles “Juddy” Peer of Bolton Landing built another one of these early boats in 1936; a bow-steerer which he claimed could reach 100 mph. By the late 1930s, numbers of them began to appear as the sport caught on in the region. Sometimes iceboats were even used for cargo transport.
A large variety of iceboat designs have been seen at one time or another on our Adirondack lakes. Some of these are as follows:
– One Offs: small homemade, mostly rear-steering iceboats built and sailed at the north end of Lake George from 1935 to 1945. Each was a bit different from the other, thus the name.
– Scooters: 300 to 500 pound, shallow, moderately heavy hulls which sprout a sturdy bowsprit. Boats carry mainsail, smaller jib and four shallow keel-like runners which have a rocker shape so that, by shifting his weight, an operator can slide the boat out of the water and up onto the ice, then back into the water if necessary.
– Skeeters: 30 foot long hulls carrying seventy-five square feet of sail and steered by a foot mechanism or wheel.
– DNs: modified versions of the winning entry in a 1937 ice boat contest held by the Detroit News; 12 foot long, thirty-six pound hulls with steeply raked 16′ masts carrying 60 square feet of sail.
– Lockley Skimmers: small steel-framed boats carrying 45 square feet of sail; built for one passenger and good for sailing on smaller lakes.
– Yankee Class: 18 foot long craft with side by side seating; carry 75 square feet of sail. One of these, built in 1950 by the famous ice boat designer and racer John Alden Beals (“Scruffy”), is on display at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. Another, “Still Crazy,” is currently owned and sailed by Dr. Dean Cook.
Unfortunately, iceboating is not practiced as much now as in earlier times, perhaps because there are fewer days when ideal ice conditions prevail. If you should spot a sail out on a lake, it will be well worth your time to pause a minute and drink in the sight of these delightful boats gliding across the ice, graceful, swift and beautiful. Thankfully, some folks are still keeping this North Country tradition alive.
Caperton Tissot is the author of Adirondack Ice, a Cultural and Natural History, published by Snowy Owl Press.
An aggressive plan has been released to attempt an eradication effort of the newest aquatic invasive species to Lake George – the Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea). An ad hoc coalition of environmental groups, scientists, and public agencies developed the Plan to Eradicate the Infestation of Invasive Species Asian Clam in Lake George, which details efforts starting after ice-out next month to try and rid the lake of the Asian clam. This plan, organized by the Lake George Asian Clam Rapid Response Task Force, details the scope of the problem in Lake George, long-term threats from this invasive, options for treatment, and details a plan that will try and eradicate this clam in the lake. » Continue Reading.
National Geographic Maps, established in 1915 to produce maps for National Geographic magazine as well as for travellers, is now using the worldwide web to promote geotourism, another name for the exploration of a particular area’s singular cultural, historical and natural topography.
Starting this spring, the company will work with a local organization to promote the unique attractions of the Lake George region around the world on the web. “The National Geographic Maps Division is pleased to have the opportunity to spotlight this region and, in doing so, support and sustain it as one of the world’s treasured natural places,” said James Dion, business development associate, National Geographic Maps. “The MapGuide will celebrate the area’s abundant scenic, cultural and historical attributes from the unique vantage point of those who live there.”
On Thursday, March 3, Dion was joined by New York State officials at the New York State Museum in Albany to announce the new project, which will be undertaken in collaboration with Lakes to Locks Passage, the organization established to promote cultural and heritage tourism in the upper Hudson, Lake George and Lake Champlain corridors.
“The Lakes to Locks Passage Geotourism website will highlight the region’s history, unique points of interest, ongoing events, and outdoor routes and trails along the waterways,” said Janet Kennedy, executive director of Lakes to Locks Passage. “The National Geographic brand will attract visitors seeking the authenticity of people and places, traveling to several attractions throughout a vacation to truly experience a destination. Through this collaboration, Lakes to Locks Passage will link established attractions to the special places hidden away in small communities.”
According to Kennedy, local residents and organizations will be invited to nominate landmarks, attractions, activities, events and even foods for places on the website. “Participation by local residents is critical to the program’s success,” said Kennedy. “Our goal is to receive nominations from across the region that identify the things people love best. Public forums and presentations will be conducted in communities throughout the Lakes to Locks Passage area to encourage nominations and community involvement.”
Lakes to Locks Passage has scheduled public meetings to encourage on-line nominations to the website and to promote its potential for attracting national and international visitors to the region.
The first in this area will be held on this Tuesday, March 29 at the Warren County Municipal Center, Room 6-103, from 3 pm to 5 pm.
For 19th century guests of the Fort William Henry Hotel, an exploration of the ruins of Fort George was as essential to the experience of visiting Lake George as an excursion to Paradise Bay aboard the Ganouski or the Lillie M. Price.
Today, the grounds of the fort are part of a state park, but the site has remained remarkably undisturbed. For the past decade, state officials have worked with local organizations, archaeologists and historians to protect the site while, at the same time, taking steps to enhance public appreciation of one of the most significant battlegrounds in North America. Earlier this month, New York State’s Board for Historic Preservation took an additional measure to both preserve and promote Fort George; it recommended that the site be placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
“Archaeological investigations at this French and Indian War site have provided rare insights into New York’s colonial wars; the site is also an example of an early and successful public initiative in land conservation and commemoration,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner for Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Bringing recognition to this property will help us to preserve and illuminate an important component of New York State history.”
After having been the site of battles in 1755 and 1757, Fort George became the headquarters of the British as they prepared to launch attacks on the French at Ticonderoga, Crown Point and Montreal. In 1759, General Jeffery Amherst ordered the construction of a stone fort. Only one corner bastion was completed, but that stone ruin survives. During the War of Independence, the fort was occupied by both the Americans and the British.
In 1998, interpretive signs were installed, permitting visitors to conduct self-guided tours of the park. Two years later, Dr. David Starbuck led the first archaeological excavation of the grounds. Starbuck, his students and volunteers uncovered the foundations of two large buildings and hundreds of artifacts.
According to Commissioner Harvey, a place on the State and National Registers can make the site eligible for various public preservation programs and services.
Once the recommendation is approved by the state historic preservation officer, the property will be listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where it will be reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.
Illustrations: 19th century views of the ruins of Fort George.
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