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Saranac Lake High School gets ready to outwit geese

Canada geese are attracted to this pond and the grounds at the Saranac Lake High School. Officials have been trying to find inexpensive and humane ways to get rid of the geese, which leave an abundance of excrement on the athletic fields.

Canada geese are attracted to this pond and the grounds at the Saranac Lake High School. Officials have been trying to find inexpensive and humane ways to get rid of the geese, which leave an abundance of excrement on the athletic fields. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— As spring approaches and Canada geese migrate north, Saranac Lake Central School officials are trying to come up with new ways of dealing with their goose poop problem.

The geese like to congregate on the inside area of the high school track, the football practice fields and the pond that borders Edgewood Road. Board members spent a good deal of time and money in 2011 trying to get rid of the geese and their droppings, citing potential health hazards and the general nuisance of practicing on fields littered with feces.

Varsity football coach Eric Bennett reported on the Goose Committee’s progress during the March 7 School Board meeting in the Petrova library. Committee members have met with officials at the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency to brainstorm ideas about what to do when the geese arrive this year.

One idea was to provide better drainage for the fields, which would make it easier to clean up the goose droppings.

Another idea was to turn the pond back into a stream, but that would take too much time and money, requiring permits and consultants.

“Clearly, at this time, this is not an appropriate course of action,” Bennett said.

Yet another idea is to surround the pond with a monofilament line to ward off the geese. It works for bird control in places such as the Chateaugay Fish Hatchery and could work here.

“If we can keep them off the pond, we believe that they might not go to the fields,” Bennett said.

In 2011, School Board members received criticism after hiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture to round up and euthanize the geese, but the geese had moved on before this plan could be enacted.

In the fall, the school district purchased a Nature Sweep “goose pooper remover” machine to clean up the feces on the fields, but officials see this as only one tool in solving their problem.

The goal is to find an inexpensive and humane way to deal with the Canada geese.

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