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Lake George Park Commission votes for mandatory boat inspection

Lake George Park Commission Executive Director Dave Wick (center) tells park commission members Tuesday July 23 about ongoing projects in Lake George intended to protect water quality and recreational uses. Minutes before, the commission voted unanimously to establish a mandated watercraft inspection program to protect Lake George from the threat of invasive species.

Lake George Park Commission Executive Director Dave Wick (center) tells park commission members Tuesday July 23 about ongoing projects in Lake George intended to protect water quality and recreational uses. Minutes before, the commission voted unanimously to establish a mandated watercraft inspection program to protect Lake George from the threat of invasive species. Photo by Thom Randall.

— Mandatory inspection and decontamination of trailered boats prior to launching into Lake George — to curb introduction of invasive species — is now closer to reality.

The Lake George Park Commission voted Tuesday July 23 to establish such regulations, and their action was immediately hailed as a landmark decision by local lawmakers and environmental leaders.

After the unanimous vote was taken in the commission’s meeting held at a Georgian Resort banquet room, Lake George Town Supervisor Dennis Dickinson stepped up to thank the commissioners.

“This is a monumental, celebratory moment,” he said. “This decision is a giant step forward.”

Eric Siy of the Fund for Lake George followed with his reaction.

“This is a great day for Lake George and all who care about her precious waters,” he said. “I applaud the commission for taking this valiant step.”

For two years, environmentalists and area government leaders have warned that if a mandatory inspection program and boat washing program weren’t established, Lake George would become increasingly infested with fast-multiplying invasive mollusks and lakeweeds that would foul the waters and detract from recreation — as has occurred in other waterways around the nation.

Specifics of the draft legislation are to be posted on the commission’s website on Wednesday July 23.

The commission’s decision for mandatory inspection next goes to a series of two public hearings this fall, then to Gov. Cuomo for the ultimate decision.

Cuomo’s approval of the regulations is anticipated later this fall, local leaders said. Wick said that members of his agency was already discussing details of implementation and funding with the governor’s office.

“We’re going to go forward with all our resources to put the regulations into place,” Wick said.

After-hours access to the lake and funding the annual program cost — estimated at $700,000 — are still to be determined, he said.

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