Boat washing plan needs more scrutiny

No one would argue that efforts should be taken to keep Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) out of the Queen of American Lakes.

No one would argue that the introduction of these species is detrimental to the ecosystem, to water quality, to intakes and pipes, or that it costs millions to eradicate them once introduced.

No one would argue that the lake steward program, overseen by the Lake George Association, has been a success, or that legislation making it illegal to introduce invasive species into Lake George was ill-conceived.

All of that makes perfect sense.

What doesn’t make sense is the agenda of a minority of the Lake George Park Commission whose goal seems to be gating every boat launch and placing uniformed invasive species police in place to inspect every vessel.

What doesn’t make sense is to punish the boaters who cannot afford a pricey dock slip yet still want to enjoy this breathtaking lake as often as those who can.

What doesn’t make sense is to drive away the area’s life-blood in the form of tourists, fishermen and day-trippers with expensive boat washing fees and long lines when they can easily travel to other communities to spend their money without the headaches.

Yet that is what we see materializing should the boat washing plan forge ahead as proposed by the Committee on Invasive Species Spread Prevention — a three-man subset of the Lake George Park Commission.

The group has been lobbying hard with local officials and environmental groups for a full scale, lake-wide boat inspection and washing program that would place sentries at boat launches, and send boats suspected of contamination to a central washing facility, where they would be hosed down with 140-degree water.

At an average of $30 a pop.

In theory, the idea of asking transient boaters to wash their boats before launching in Lake George is a good one. It has been the objective of the LGA’s lake steward program since its inception.

Comments may be directed to denpubs@denpubs.com.

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