Boating on Lake George could be more complicated and more expensive next summer. The Lake George Park Commission is considering regulations to fight the spread of invasive species in the lake — regulations that could include mandatory decontamination of boats prior to launching, designated hours at public launches and new fees.
continued The decontamination process takes 35-40 minutes, Wick said.
“It’s an involved process,” he said. “If it’s just he hull it’s not a big deal. But you need to get into all the nooks and crannies of the engine and boat to do a complete job.”
Dave Iuliano, a Ticonderoga town board member, asked if decontamination would be practical on a busy weekend or during a fishing tournament when as many as 100 boats are waiting to get into the lake.
Cook said in the case of fishing tournaments boats could be decontaminated the night before. No one offered any idea how boat launch traffic would flow during other periods.
Wick said the LGPC will ask the state to pay for an invasive species program, but acknowledged the cost of the decontaminated program would likely be borne by boaters, who would pay a fee when launching.
“There is no program in place; we’re still considering options,” Wick stressed to the two dozen people at the Ticonderoga meeting. “No one wants to diminish the recreational capacity of Lake George. We’re asking for feedback on these options.”
Wick said the committee had held three meetings on the invasive species problem. The majority of people attending those meetings support the mandatory inspection and decontamination option, he said.
Iuliano expressed concern the possible regulations could discourage tourism and hurt the local economy.
“I understand the importance of protecting Lake George,” he said, “but we’ve built our communities around tourism. This will have a major impact.”
Wick said the LGPC is aware of possible impacts on tourism, but said the long-term problem may be much worse.
“If we don’t do something, the outcome is very clear,” Wick said. “We’re trying not to impact short-term business interests while protecting the long-term health of the lake.”
Wick and Cook repeatedly referred to Lake Tahoe, Calif., where asian clams have over-run the lake. They pointed to a 2009 Lake Tahoe study that estimated invasive species are costing the local economy $20 million annually.