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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.

— State Department of Environmental Conservation officials — balking last year on a mandated inspection program because they were wary of hindering sport-fishing and boat traffic — will be weighing in on how the program is to be implemented.

Wick predicted cooperation from DEC this time around, however.

“We’ll be working with DEC hand-in-hand,” Wick said.

Local leaders said such collaboration was likely, considering that DEC Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann serves on the Commission and he voted for the program.

The S.A.V.E. Lake George Partnership, consisting of local governments and environmental groups, has offered to contribute half the cost of the program, Wick said.

At Tuesday’s commission meeting, Dickinson spoke on behalf of the partnership — he presented a document to the commissioners, calling for the program to include effective ways of making sure boats were clean before they were launched after hours, if such a practice was to be permitted. The after-hours proposals include either extended hours at selected launch sites, gating off the launch sites, and/or installing video monitoring equipment to assure that regulations were being followed.

These are among the many specifics that need to be worked out, Wick said, adding that a program could be in place next year.

A coalition of municipalities surrounding the lake has purchased three wash stations, and the town of Lake George is expecting to have one delivered soon, Bolton Town Supervisor Ron Conover said, noting that local government has already accomplished a lot to control invasives. He added that Tuesday’s decision culminated a lengthy process to get everyone, including sport-fishing groups, on board.

“It’s been a fine regional effort that brought together diverse groups with opposing opinions, getting everyone focused on the lake. It’s been a great team effort,” he said. “Today is a great day for Lake George.”

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