Bryan Giroux of Watercraft Plus in Ticonderoga works to clear the LaChute River of debris from the boat launch in Bicentennial Park to Lake Champlain.
There was a time when the LaChute River was an important transportation corridor to Ticonderoga.
Those days are gone, but some people would again like to see boats ply the LaChute.
“Up until the railroads, 60-80 foot canal boats serviced the town’s industry,” said George Sperry, a marine surveyor and Ti resident. “They came right up the LaChute.
“In addition, the boats were made here, right on the banks of the LaChute by the Burleigh brothers in the early and mid 19th century,” he said. “Although we’ll probably never see 80 foot boats in the LaChute again, it’s important to maintain some degree of navigational ability for pleasure craft.”
That’s why Sperry and others are working to clear the LaChute River of debris from the boat launch in Bicentennial Park to Lake Champlain.
Sperry enlisted PRIDE of Ticonderoga to assist with the project. He is a member of the PRIDE board of directors. Also assisting is Watercraft Plus, a local business.
“This project is important to me, being a boat guy, but more importantly to PRIDE, because PRIDE sees the LaChute as a thoroughfare along with the Portage, the oldest thoroughfare in town,” he said. “Historic preservation is a PRIDE hallmark after all.”
Sharon Reynolds, PRIDE executive director, said clearing the LaChute now will ready it for use in the spring.
“Through the efforts of PRIDE Board of Director George Sperry, a marine surveyor, working with Watercraft Plus, we were able to schedule the clearing in preparation for the spring and to encourage canoeists and kyackers to experience this beautiful paddle,” Reynolds said. “There are many trees that have fallen into the river and it appears that the beavers are ever so active.”
Sperry said beavers are a major problem along the LaChute.
“As a member of the PRIDE board, Sharon Reynolds and I met with Brian Giroux and an associate from Champlain Bridge Marina for the purpose of devising a plan for clearing the LaChute of navigational obstacles, i.e. low-hanging trees, etc.,” Sperry said. “We encountered beavers at work between the Kissing Bridge and the two bridges down stream. The beavers must be quite large, for the wood chips along the banks are, in addition to being fresh, quite huge.
“They are taking down trees about a foot in diameter,” he said. “The problem being that the trees have the potential of obstructing flow and could eventually cause the river to overflow its banks.
“The damaged trees can easily be seen from Bicentennial Park, as can the beavers, if you are there early or late in the day,” he added.
Sperry would like to see trappers take some of the beavers to alleviate the problem.
Reynolds is pleased to see the LaChute River corridor cleared. The project fits in nicely with the adjacent LaChute River Trail used by recreationalists.
“PRIDE continues to be the champion of the LaChute River Trail making sure our residents and visitors have quality walking, biking and boating experiences,” Reynolds said, “and we are fortunate to have many partners in our efforts throughout the town and county as well as George as an active board member to oversee all things water related on the LaChute.”