Lender added he is hopeful the demolition will rally public support for the park project.
"This is the most important lake protection project underway in the basin," he said. "It is also one that brings with it the hope that we can truly restore an important wetland that was filled in generations ago, before we knew how critical wetlands are to the health of Lake George."
He added that future generations will be thankful for the "bold steps" that environmentalists took at this point in history to protect the lake.
Peter Bauer of the Fund for Lake George said the wetlands restoration will correct the biggest single source of pollution to the lake while creating a park that will serve future generations well.
"As the walls of Charley's Saloon come tumbling down, we see through the rubble an exciting future for Lake George and its surrounding communities," Bauer said, noting the project was a vital investment in the lake, the area's most important environmental and economic resource.
Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said he was pleased to see the restoration project begin.
"After all the years of planning and deliberation, our goals are finally being realized," Blais said. "We're going to have a beautiful open space gateway to our community while we help to protect Lake George."
Fred Monroe, chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, also said he was pleased to see the project underway, considering the lengthy process of negotiations over land use between various entities involved in the effort.
Lighting fixtures, drainage pipes, and other items on the south parcel are to be removed along with the Saloon building. One small structure will also be removed on the north parcel in this phase of the project. Ground-breaking on the rough-grading of the site is expected to begin in January.