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Locals seek solution to state's plan to axe island trash pickup

BOLTON LANDING - Concerned of the environmental damage that could occur if the Department of Environmental Conservation follows through on its proposal to discontinue trash pickup on their own Lake George island campsites, area officials and environmentalists have concocted a plan with DEC employees they hope will be approved by their DEC bosses.

State Sen Elizabeth O'C Little, R-Queensbury; state Assemblywoman Teresa L. Sayward, R-Willsboro; representatives of various environmental groups and lake agency chiefs proposed to DEC middle-managers at a meeting Sept. 17, they add a garbage service charge to campsite reservation fees to pay specifically for trash pickup.

Area political officials and lake agency chiefs predicted the state's pending "Carry-in, carry-out" policy would result in trash despoiling the islands and being dumped in the lake.

Local officials attending the meeting who routinely see the boaters head for their campsites, said the campers sometimes take several boat-loads full of consumable supplies for a week's stay, representing a large amount of trash generated per camper.

"I've seen some folks take a half-hour to unload their SUVs and vans, then transport three boat-loads of stuff to their island campsites," Hague supervisor Dan Belden said. "A lot of this ends up as trash, and to cut off garbage pickup on the islands would be a terrible, terrible mistake."

Queensbury supervisor William VanNess, who has spent years as a police officer patrolling the lake, said cutting out trash pickup would not only cause noxious litter to collect, but the trash would prompt infestations of rodents, skunks and raccoons, posing a hazard to campers. He said people piloting $200,000 boats would not want to fill up large garbage bags with trash when they depart - they'd likely dispose of it on the island or by tossing the trash into the lake.

Lake George town supervisor Frank McCoy said such illegal disposal would likely degrade the lake's water quality, perhaps to the point that lakewater can't be used as a drinking water source as it is now.

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