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State agrees to resume island campsite trash pickup

LAKE GEORGE - The state is dropping its controversial plan to halt trash pickup on Lake George Island campsites and is adopting a proposal concocted by local officials and legislative representatives to charge a disposal fee to recoup the costs, state Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward jointly announced Wednesday.

The state's intention to discontinue garbage pickup, aired three months ago, had alarmed local officials and environmentalists, who predicted that campers would dump trash in the lake and around waterfront areas rather than haul it home with them. DEC had announced they were halting the trash pickup due to budgetary restraints, and many lake area citizens and officials blasted the idea.

Little and Sayward said the state Department of Environmental Conservation said they will be charging an extra $3 user fee along with camping permits to raise the $90,000 they need to pay for the garbage disposal.

This concept was concocted by Little, Sayward, local officials and environmentalists at a summit meeting they held Sept. 17 with DEC middle managers.

Disposal of garbage would have become the responsibility of campers. The state has three island campgrounds on Lake George that host 387 total campsites.

Now, campers pay $25 per night to stay at a campsite. DEC officials are planning to increase that to $30 for out-of-state visitors and to $26 for those in state, plus the new $3 fee.

"The goal is to keep these sites clean, to ensure garbage doesn't end up in the water and to prevent surrounding municipal trash systems from being overwhelmed," Little said Wednesday afternoon in a prepared statement.

Sayward hailed the collaboration as an example of how government should be functioning.

"I appreciate the decision DEC made to continue to provide refuse pick up on the Lake George Islands," Sayward said. "This resolve is a perfect example of state and local government working together with stakeholders to find solutions in these tough economic times."

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