The announcement last week that the state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to close newly installed gates at two boat launches on the north end of Lake George at night may not have seemed like a big deal to many.
But to anglers, and environmentalists, those gates are part of a tug of war over access to the lake, and efforts to keep invasive species out of it.
Concerns were raised earlier this year, and reported by Adirondack Explorer in April, about the fact that there was uncontrolled boat access at the state-owned Roger's Rock boat launch in Hague and Mossy Point launch in Ticonderoga. Hague Town Board member Steve Ramant was among those speaking out, as were representatives of some environmental groups.
Those are the two closest to Lake Champlain, and there were concerns that boaters can quickly go from one lake to the other without any inspections after-hours. Launches to the south are closed after hours.
Many anglers have taken issue over the years with the hours that the boat inspection stations are operated, as they often aren't open during early morning, when many want to get on the water.
Well the state Department of Environmental Conservation sided this week with environmental groups, by closing gates at the two launches as part of a "pilot program" for the next few weeks, which seems to take into account the fears about invasive species, while also making some exceptions for those who fish the lake.
The DEC's press release is below, which explains the inspection hours, and resources that will be available.
DEC to Begin Closing Gates Overnight at Mossy Point and Rogers Rock Boat Launches on Sept. 6
Part of Pilot Program to Increase Protections Against Aquatic Invasive Species on Lake George
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will begin closing the gates at the Mossy Point and Rogers Rock Boat Launches on Lake George on Sept. 6 as part of a pilot program to increase protection from aquatic invasive species on the lake, DEC Regional Director Bob Stegemann announced today. The overnight closure will continue through the month of October.
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"DEC and the Lake George Park Commission are seeking to balance protecting the lake from aquatic invasive species and providing public access for boating," said Director Stegemann. "The information we gather during the pilot program will inform a more permanent program for next year’s boating season and support the state’s ongoing efforts to protect Lake George from invasive pests."
Boat launch stewards from the Lake George Park Commission will be present during the hours the boat launches are open to inspect boats, trailers, and equipment for the presence of aquatic invasive species and to educate boaters of the importance of "Clean, Drain, and Dry" (www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/92700.html).
Boat launch stewards will open and close the gates at the boat launches as follows:
9/6 – 9/20 5am-8pm
9/21 – 10/11 6am-7pm
10/12 – 10/31 7am-6pm
This schedule is subject to change. Check the Lake George Park Commission website (https://lgpc.ny.gov/) for the most current information.
A callbox is located next to the door of the Lake George Park Commission shed at each of the boat launches. Boaters who do not get off the water until after the gate is closed can use the callbox. Calls will go directly to the DEC Emergency Dispatch. A DEC Dispatcher will provide the caller with instructions for opening the gate.
The callboxes were provided by the Fund for Lake George.