To the Times of Ti:
One has to wonder why all the fuss about Lake George pollution from transient boats is being made! I have been on the lake since the 1940s and have seen a decline in its waters for several years! Long before anyone ever heard of zebra mussels, milfoil or water chestnuts thousands of camps have been dumping wastewater into the lake. With multi-million dollar mansions one would expect sewer systems to be installed around the lake to protect it from contaminants! Even moderate camps are priced out of reach making the lake a playground for those who could well afford to pay for sewers.
Boaters are also at fault dumping porta-potties overboard as well as bilge oil! There was a time when boaters were responsible and boating on the lake was a pleasure. This has changed with cigarette boats flying up and down the lake polluting not only the water but also the quietness! Large cruisers are also a problem going too fast in narrow passages putting out wakes that are damaging the shoreline along the land and islands. The Mohican alone is responsible for more shoreline damage than any other vessel as it plies its way north.
Marinas are all about making money and over the years gas and oil has seeped into every section of the lake. I can remember a time when I could leave my boat at the dock for an entire season and the bottom would be as clean as when I launched it. Now it only takes a few days for a hull to be covered with an oil slick and God knows what else.
I am sure this letter will infuriate some of the offenders I have mentioned but as the saying goes “It is what it is!” For too many years the Lake George Club and others looked at the lake’s demise and have talked a good talk. I believe Lake George is still savable but it will take more than checking transient boats that are a part of the problem!
A sewer system around the lake needs to be constructed and funds should come from those who are doing the polluting! If one can afford millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars for a lakeside camp they can pay for sewers to carry their waste away from the lake. Many can remember when Lake George camps took their drinking water directly from the lake and one could see the bottom in 30 or more feet! Lake George is in danger of becoming a cesspool as septic systems leach down to the rock below and then into the Lake.
I have done scuba in every area of the lake and the silt at the bottom is spread throughout. Once one could see only rock or sand on the lake’s bottom but now there are places with several feet of slime that makes visibility zero if touched by a diver! Boaters who want to use the lake are charged an annual fee that has risen making it hard for middle-income people. Steam cleaning will add even more cost and there should be a way to make it less. The lake has become in many ways a place for those who can afford whatever it cost and they are dictating its future. Government, from the state to local towns and villages around the lake, have allowed the deterioration of it by allowing too many homes and camps to be built on its shores without regard for the pollution that comes with them. People feeding geese and ducks and washing their bodies in the lake are also a big problem but this too in not addressed! The camping islands have inadequate sanitary facilities and campers relieve themselves without regard for where the waste will end up.
It is time for everyone to take their share of the blame and do something before it’s too late. Steam cleaning transient boats is not going to solve the problems faced by Lake George. The effects of the pollution in the lake are going to continue as long as a sewer system is not installed and all the steam cleaning in the world won’t make a difference!
Gary P. Guido