The LGA was formed in 1885 during the height of the U.S. conservation movement, when natural resource preservation gained momentum on the heels of essays by Thoreau and Emerson, and speeches by Theodore Roosevelt. U.S. Congress was establishing national parks and New York State created the Adirondack Forest Preserve. America's natural areas were becoming destinations for tourists, naturalists, and sportsmen. People were beginning to value the natural beauty of places like Lake George.
LGA's first project was to restock the lake with fish. Because the fishery's health depended on water quality, the Association addressed basic sources of pollution. Their tasks included working with local farmers to curb the runoff from pigpens and livestock yards that were polluting the lake.
Later, as more families developed lakeshore camps and depended on the lake for drinking water, the LGA provided sanitary inspectors to encourage replacement of outdoor privies and to cut down on septic pollution.
In the 1940s, LGA leaders influenced the state legislature to undertake the first technical studies of the lake which were the basis for the landmark Lake George Law.
In the 1960's, the Association lobbied successfully for a ban on phosphate detergents, the first in the State. Later, the LGA fought for construction of community sewage treatment plants, a program that continues to this day.
During the last half-century, rampant development has threatened Lake George. When regulatory controls were in their infancy, the LGA supported municipal planning and local laws to protect water quality. LGA members began monitoring local review processes. Faced in the 1980s with many large subdivisions and condominium proposals, the LGA fought successfully for effective stormwater and wastewater facilities to be included in construction plans.
Milfoil beds were first discovered in the mid-1980s, and within months, LGA produced a workshop on state-of-the-art weed control techniques. And later when zebra mussels were discovered in the lake, the LGA responded by providing vital information to local officials and residents. The LGA continues to bring nuisance species experts and educational sessions to Lake George, and to provide solutions.