The Importance of Lake George
Lake George has a rich and storied history as a battleground between great armies in great battles that defined national boundaries and the fortunes of empires. It was the inspiration for artists of the Hudson River School of painters and others, such as Georgia O'Keeffe, as well as noted photographers and sculptors. The lake has also been a mecca for outdoor recreation for hikers and boaters, hunters and anglers. Since the mid-1800s, the lake has sponsored a resort and vacation culture that has adapted and changed with how American society evolved. The advent of commercial stagecoaches, railroads, automobiles, motorboats, labor laws that established working weeks and paid vacations, as well as the fluctuations in the U.S. economy and tax laws that have driven the vacation home industry, among other factors, have all brought changes to land uses around Lake George and the way that people use the lake. Now, in the first decade of the 21st Century, Lake George remains an inspiration for artists and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the eastern U.S.
Equally important is that Lake George has become a center for lake science and environmental debate. Lake George is also recognized for its high water quality and long-term scientific studies of a lake ecosystem. Lake Tahoe in the west and Lake George in the east are often paired as the best examples we have for ongoing scientific studies of human impacts on lake ecosystems and water quality. Though some of the strongest environmental regulations enacted in the U.S. are in place around Lake George through the New York State Adirondack Park Agency Act and the New York State Lake George Park Commission legislation, these laws have failed to fully protect Lake George. Stronger laws and regulations are needed.
The landscape of Lake George is like that of much of the six-million acre Adirondack Park, defined by mountains, forests, and water. Mountains, long ridges, deep forests, wetlands, streams, rivers and ponds surround the 32-mile long Lake George. This varied landscape is unique to the Adirondacks. Other places may have wilder rivers, bigger trees and higher mountains, but no other place has the unique landscape of mountains, forests and water of all kinds.
Three forces are primarily responsible for this landscape: bedrock, glaciers, weather. Vast quantities of bedrock were deposited over the Lake George area and northern New York by a vast inland ocean that built up layers of sediment over the eons. This bedrock was slowly broken apart by molten igneous rock that created the many mountains across the Adirondacks. This process continues today as the mountains of the Adirondacks are still rising (some have estimated it as a centimeter a century). Three glaciers advanced and receded over these mountains, scouring mountain tops and cliff sides, building ridges, forging and changing the routes of rivers, and digging lakes. The last of these glaciers receded 12,000 years ago. The northwest-southwest pattern of Lake George, and many other Adirondack lakes (Long Lake, Tupper Lake, Lake Placid, Indian Lake) was shaped by the paths of the last glacier.
Weather and climate have shaped the plant and animal life in the Lake George area and the Adirondacks. 12,000 to 10,000 years ago an open tundra-like landscape existed around Lake George where the dominant tree species was white spruce. As the climate warmed, white spruce were replaced by poplar, fir, tamarack, elm and basswood. Around 8,000 years ago paper birch and sugar maples emerge as dominant trees on the landscape. A warmer, drier climate continued that saw hemlock, pine, yellow birch and other tree species emerge. Periods of warming and cooling fluctuations have caused changes to the assemblages of species on the shores of Lake George and up the mountain sides of Buck and Tongue mountains over the millennia.
The ecology around Lake George continues to offer a high level of biological diversity today. Lake George has over 50 species of aquatic plants making it one of the most diverse lakes in the U.S. Extensive wetlands of Northwest Bay, Dunhams Bay and Harris Bay, among others, augment this diversity. The forests around the lake contain both lowland boreal forest mixes along the shoreline and streamsides and upland northern hardwood forests that cover the slopes of Tongue, Black, Buck, Sleeping Beauty and other mountains.
Colonial Era History
For thousands of years of human habitation after the last glaciers receded, Lake George was part of a highly used travel route that linked the Hudson and Mohawk rivers with Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River. Native Americans on seasonal migrations, hunting and war parties, all paddled the lake and are believed to have camped regularly at the north and south ends.
French explorer Samuel de Champlain explored the area in 1609, making his way to present day Ticonderoga. Champlain famously named the lake to the north of Lake George. In 1646, Lake George was christened "Lac du Saint-Sacrement" (lake of the Holy Sacrament) by French missionary Isaac Joques, who was killed by Native Americans shortly thereafter. This was his second mission to the area.
The lake's name has changed over the centuries since. Joques had better luck with a name that stuck for the river that drains Lake George at its north end into Lake Champlain, which he named "La Chute" (the fall). Sir William Johnson, famed fur trader at his outpost in Johnstown, New York, and who famously provided a bridge that allied the Iroquois Nation and British Empire for decades, named the lake after King George II in 1755 after a victory in the French and Indian War at the south end of the lake. Johnson later built the original Fort William Henry, named for the King's grandchildren. (Later, author James Fennimore Cooper advocated that Lake George be called Lake Horicon, which he argued meant "silvery waters.")
In 1762, the Town of Queensbury formed, the first town to formally organize in the area. A road of sorts existed between Fort Edward and Lake George, part of the historic carry. It is largely forested through dense pine stands with a few farms at its southern-most points.
The lake's most famous battle is that of the Fort William Henry in 1757. This battle was memorialized in Cooper's novel The Last of the Mohicans and featured a pivotal battle between British and Colonial militias defending the fort at the south end of Lake George against a larger French army that had laid siege commanded by General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm. Montcalm was one of the most successful military leaders ever in North America. He won the Battle of Oswego in the early years of the French and Indian War and his later defense at Fort Ticonderoga in 1758 is studied today. Montcalm died during his ultimately unsuccessful defense of Quebec from a British and colonial militia assault.
The French and Indian War also provided one of the most famous shipwrecks on Lake George, that of the Land Tortoise. This high-sided barge was built as a gunner ship to escort a British fleet north in 1758 after the French had destroyed the Fort William Henry. The boat was not destroyed, rather it was sunk for storage over the winter and never recovered. It is now a state underwater historic site.
A series of smaller battles prior to the construction of the Fort William Henry in 1755 gave name to "Bloody Pond," which is found today. After victory at the Fort William Henry, Montcalm withdrew north and burned the fort (the glow of which was reported to be seen in Fort Edward). Montcalm successfully defended Fort Ticonderoga against a larger British army in 1758 before withdrawing to Canada.
The British built a new fort nearby further east, Fort George (a portion of which still stands in the Lake George Battleground Campground area), which was used before and during the American Revolution. Most notably, in December 1755 when Henry Knox (a bookseller in Boston before joining Washington's army) arrived with a flotilla of 53 cannons and mortars he was transporting from Ticonderoga to Boston. Knox's flotilla had rested at Sabbath Day Point and spent a night at Bolton Landing as it rowed the cannons down Lake George. Knox spent two weeks at Fort George waiting for snow and readying sleds and oxen to travel overland to Albany and then Boston. Knox successfully delivered the cannons to Washington on January 24, 1776. By March, Washington's army had fought and won possession of Dorchester Heights, where installation of Knox's cannons caused the British to evacuate Boston.
In 1772, Charlotte County formed to include most of the east side of Lake George.
The Knox Trail has been memorialized. Markers around Lake George are found at the NYS Mossey Point boat launch, Sabbath Day Point, Bolton Landing, and in the Battleground Campground in Lake George. Tour markers commemorate the route today and are in place at the above locations.
The removal of the French from control of the Lake George and Lake Champlain basin provided opportunities for settlers. Existing settlements grew around the Lake George Village area, Bolton, and Ticonderoga and new settlements and farms were built.
In 1784, Charlotte County renamed Washington County in honor of the first President of the United States.
Thomas Jefferson visited Lake George in 1791 and wrote to his daughter that "Lake George is without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw; formed by a contour of mountains into a basin ... finely interspersed with islands, its water limpid as crystal, and the mountain sides covered with rich groves ... down to the water-edge: here and there precipices of rock to checker the scene and save it from monotony." In 1799, the Town of Bolton organized and included almost all lands on the west side of Lake George.
Lake George in the 19th Century
Early in the 19th century, the New York State Legislature passed laws declaring that all rivers were public highways. This created new markets for the delivery of timber to downriver mills. The Lake George area was also drawing notice as an area rich in hemlock for tanning and white pine for shipbuilding. By 1810, records show 25 sawmills on the west side of Lake George, 10 alone in Caldwell. The volumes of board feet being moved each year numbered in the several millions.
The first decade of the 19th Century saw growing settlements around Lake George. In 1807, Robert Fulton launched the first steamship that ran on the Hudson River from New York City to Albany. The Hudson River was the dominant transportation route north-south in New York and in this same year the first stagecoaches starting operation to ferry visitors from Albany to Lake George. The Town of Ticonderoga was formed in 1804 and in 1807 the Town of Hague formed, separating from the Town of Bolton.
In 1810, the Town of Caldwell (now Town of Lake George) was founded and named by James Caldwell. (The name lasted until 1962.) Logs were transported down the lake roped between barges and an active lake transport business for goods and visitors flourished. American historian Timothy Dwight visited Caldwell in 1811 and was impressed by the growth he saw since a previous visit in 1802: "I little thought that within ten years there would be raised up a beautiful village, exhibiting, with a brilliancy almost singular, many of these elegancies." In 1812, the Caldwell founder commissioned a series of painting of Lake George, one of most famous being Ezra Ames "Perspective Painting of Lake George (with the fort)" from a point above the remnants of Fort George at the south end of Lake George.
Warren County was created as a separate county, breaking away from Washington County, on March 12, 1813, named after General Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War hero. The Court House was built in downtown Caldwell in 1816-17. As the early county seat, some have stated in the past that Warren County grew up around Lake George. Farms flourished around Caldwell and south into Queensbury and steamship travel became regular on Lake George by 1817.
The Lake George Watchman, a weekly newspaper, began publication. This was the first of many papers to publish around the lake.
In 1825, the Erie Canal was opened, making Albany and Troy the biggest cities for trade and commerce north of New York. In 1826, James Fenimore Cooper published The Last of the Mohicans with its setting around the Lake George area. 1826 saw famous painter Thomas Cole, of the Hudson River School of painters, visit Lake George. He returned throughout his life and wrote about the lake. Throughout the rest of the 19th Century American and European landscape painters traveled to Lake George to paint. John Frederick Kensett's "Lake George," painted in 1869, is perhaps the most famous.
To improve transportation to the lake, a plank road was built from Glens Falls to Lake George in 1848. This route followed the route that had been used for centuries between Glens Falls on the Hudson River and Lake George. In 1849, this road was continued to Warrensburg. The route extended to Chester and beyond by 1850. This route was a precursor for NYS Route 9.
By 1850, New York led the U.S. in timber production. Sawmills had by then moved from the west side of Lake George to the east side, as the west side saw growth in hotels, private homes, and farms. Tensions over the level of timber harvesting and environmental degradation arose. Joel T. Headley wrote in The Adirondack: or Life in the Woods in 1849 "You have no conception of the quantity of lumber that is taken every winter... A great deal of land is bought of government solely for the pine on it, and after that is cut down, it is allowed to revert back to the State to pay its taxes." In 1857, in Wild Northern Scenes; or Sporting Adventures With the Rifle and the Rod, S.H. Hammond wrote "Had I my way, I would mark out a circle of a hundred miles in diameter, and throw around it the protecting aegis of the constitution. I would make it a forest forever. It would be a misdemeanor to chop down a tree and a felony to clear an acre within its boundaries." By 1864, The New York Times editorialized "Within and easy days ride of our great city, as steam teaches us to measure distance, is a tract of country fitted to make a Central Park for the World.
As the destruction of Adirondack forests became a growing concern after 1850, Lake George grew into a major resort destination, many hotels and smaller lodges were opened. Cleared forests were converted to pastures and farms giving parts of Lake George a pastoral quality. In other areas, second growth forest grew up in the wake of logging operations. The Fort William Henry Hotel opened in Caldwell in 1855 to provide luxurious accommodations. This established Lake George as the first Other noteworthy hotels included the Trout Pavillion, Summer House at Huletts Landing, the Marion House, Sherman House Hotel, The Crosbyside, the Agawan Hotel, Lake View House, Rogers Rock Hotel, The Lake House, The Hundred Islands House, First Hulett Prospect Mountain House, among some two dozen others.
The Minne-Ha-Ha made its first voyage in 1857 using salvaged equipment from the John Jay, which had been the largest of the steamboats on the lake. The Minne-Ha-Ha could hold 400 passengers.
Even during the worst years of the Civil War, some 15,000 guests stayed or passed through the town of Caldwell (perhaps nothing so well shows the difference the war experience in the north and south). In 1869 the railroad spur from Fort Edward to Glens Falls began. This ushered in an even greater wave of tourists and came to be known as "the golden age of stagecoaches" in Lake George. This hotel culture supplanted logging on the western side of the lake (the mills moved to the east side). The Fort William Henry Hotel became a center for stagecoaches. In 1874, the Rogers Rock Hotel was built. By 1876 there were 20 hotels clustered around the southern end of Lake George and nearly three dozen around the lake. In 1882, the railroad from Glens Falls to Lake George was completed and the first train arrived in Lake George. This was the death knell for the stagecoach age.
In 1873, the Seelye family began the Fort George hotel near the remnants of Fort George. The hotel burned in 1888 and was not replaced.
1883, the Philadelphia-born Green Island Improvement Corporation (with John Boulton Simpson as president) builds the Sagamore Club House on Green Island, today the Sagamore Hotel.
In 1877 a log cabin was built on the summit of Prospect Mountain and the summit was purchased by Dr. James Ferguson of Glens Falls. He built the Prospect Mountain House to take advantage of the stunning views. Guests reached the summit by horse and carriage. The hotel burned in 1880 and was rebuilt. In the late 1880s, the Sabbath Day House at Sabbath Day Point was operating and remained under the management of the Carney family until 1957. It was in these years that Glens Falls photographer, Seneca Ray Stoddard traveled throughout Lake George and the Adirondacks and took photographs and made maps.
In 1885, the State of New York established the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Warren County is named as a Forest Preserve county. These were to be state-owned lands managed by the state for timber. At this same time, a map commissioned by the Sargent Commission, a special commission of the state that investigated land uses in the Adirondacks, represented that all the land surrounding Lake George had been cleared of its original forests.
In 1885, the Lake George Association is formed. The LGA is the oldest continuing operating lake association in the U.S.
The state-owned islands on Lake George were officially opened for public use. Many islands had squatter cabins on them and this incited months of confrontations between squatters, campers, and "custodians" employed by the state to manage public use.
1877 saw the launch of the first steamboat Horicon. It cost $75,000, could hold 1,000 passengers and was almost 200 feet long.
1880 saw the first of many canoe races and the formation of the American Canoe Association, a group that favors wooden boats. Famed wooden boat maker Henry Rushton of Canton, NY was in attendance and several of the organizers purchased the Three Sisters Islands and renamed them the Canoe Islands. While motorboat use was growing in popularity, wooden canoes, guideboats, rowboats and sailboat use enjoyed wide enthusiasm.
In 1890, John Boulton Simpson's yacht, the Fanita, launched. It was the most palatial private yacht on the lake. In 1892, Harry Watrous, a well-known painter and founding member of the Lake George Club, builds a summer cottage at Hague on the west side of Lake George.
In 1892, the Adirondack Park was created. Its original boundaries are 3.1-million acres and does not include any lands around Lake George. There are very few state lands in the new Forest Preserve around Lake George. Half of the towns of Johnsburg, Thurman and Stony Creek are in the new park.
The Sagamore Club House burns in 1893 and is rebuilt and reopened in 1894 with many new amenities. In 1895, a 1.4-mile railway built up the side of Prospect Mountain. A day trip to Prospect Mountain was a popular pastime. Visitors could eat, dance and find lodging at the Prospect Mountain House.
In 1894, the voters of New York approve a new State Constitution, which includes the famous "forever wild" clause for all Forest Preserve lands. Logging was ended on all state owned Forest Preserve lands in the beginning on 1895.
In 1895, the Prospect Mountain Incline Railway opened to the public. This elevated railway temporarily reinvigorated the operation of the hotel.
Newspapers report in 1896 that "wheel racks" had become common at every hotel around Lake George to accommodate the popular use of bicycles.
The Silver Bay Inn was built in 1898-1899.
Lake George in the 20th Century
In 1900 there were 17 steamboat docks and separate post offices around Lake George in Caldwell, Assembly Point, Rockhurst, Cleverdale, Kattskill Bay, Pilot Knob, Bolton, Shelving Rock, Bolton, Bolton Landing, Huletts Landing, Sabbath Day Point, Silver Bay, Glen Eyrie, Hague, Glenburnie, Rogers Rock, and Baldwin.
1901 saw the founding of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks to protect the forests and new Forest Preserve of the Adirondack Park.
In 1902, George O. Knapp, co-founder of the Union Carbide Corporation, builds his estate on a ledge of Shelving Rock overlooking Lake George. In 1903, the Rogers Rock Hotel is transformed into the private Rogers Rock Club. The Prospect Mountain Incline Railway ended operation in 1903. The Sagamore, a 1,500-passenger steam ship, started service on Lake George in 1902. The Village of Lake George formed in 1903.
1904, George Knapp buys Paradise Bay, one of the most scenic and beautiful bays on Lake George. In 1904, the Silver Bay Association formed and an affiliation was formed with the YMCA. Reports of a "sea monster" are made around the lake and persist for years afterwards. Speedboat races become regular events, beginning with the American Speedboat Association's Gold Cup races in1904.
The Lake George Club opens in 1909. It has boat docks, tennis courts, a golf course and a clubhouse with dining facilities. The Fort Ticonderoga Museum is dedicated in 1909, with President William Howard Taft in attendance. The Museum founders were Sarah and Stephen Pell. In August 1909, Governor Hughes gives an address at Silver Bay.
A New York Times article in 1912 on motorboating on Lake George states that "A conservative estimate places the number of motor boats on Lake George at seven hundred." Motorboat races of boats of all sizes become regular occurrences on Lake George.
The Fort William Henry Hotel also burns to the ground; it reopened in 1911 with Governor Dix attending the reception. The second Sagamore Club House is destroyed by fire in 1914 and in 1917 the Knapp estate at Shelving Rock destroyed by fire. In 1922, the third Sagamore Club House opens.
The Automobile Club of America advertises a great trip in August 1913 from New York City to Lake George on "mostly good roads." Reports stated that roads from Saratoga through Luzerne to Lake George were better than those from Saratoga through Glens Falls to Lake George.
In 1916, photographer Alfred Steiglitz brought painter Georgia O'Keeffe to the Steiglitz family farm in Lake George. This was one of the most dynamic artistic partnerships in U.S. history. Steiglitz and O'Keeffe were married in 1924 and traveled to the lake regularly until the mid-1930s, after which O'Keeffe moved to New Mexico. Steiglitz died in 1946 and O'Keeffe buried his ashes on the side of the lake. Many of Steiglitz's famous pictures of O'Keeffe were taken in Lake George and O'Keeffe made a number of paintings around the lake.
In 1916, a state bond act is approved for $7.5 million for land acquisition in the Adirondacks and Catskill Parks.
A permit system is started for campers on the state-owned Lake George Islands.
Over 7,000 acres north of Tongue Mountain and Turtle Island were purchased by the State of New York for the Forest Preserve in 1923.
In 1923, after persistent rumors that the Prospect Mountain Hotel would become a gambling casino, George Foster Peabody, the noted philanthropist and protector of historic sites was prompted to purchase the buildings and summit and give it to New York State to be developed for public use. Peabody, for whom the Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism is made, owned Abenia on Lake George. This is the first major state acquisition around Lake George. These lands were added to the Forest Preserve. (In 1932 the dilapidated Prospect Mountain House was destroyed by fire and was replaced by a steel fire tower.) Peabody also purchased and transferred lands that became Hearthstone Point state campground.
In 1923, the state buys Tongue Mountain and over 8,000 acres surrounding it as new lands for the Forest Preserve. Additional lands were purchased on the east side of Lake George in the mid-1920s.
Various "Lake George Park" bills are introduced through the 1920s in the State Legislature as well as bills to extend the Blue Line (boundary) of the Adirondack Park to include all of Lake George. Efforts fought by local timber interests.
The 1920s saw John S. Apperson, known as "Appy," become involved in conservation efforts across the Adirondacks and around Lake George. Apperson was a GE engineer, the first wave of a long line of GE scientists who have been active in the protection of Lake George. Appy had a particular impact on the preservation of the Lake George islands, many of which he pushed for state acquisition. Dome Island is a major legacy as he bought it and managed it for decades by stabilizing its shoreline and sharply limiting access. Dome Island was sold to The Nature Conservancy in 1956. Today, Dome Island is an invaluable resource as it shows an island is a natural condition. Apperson worked for nearly four decades to protect Lake George and the Adirondack Park. In 1922, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) formed. ADK focused initially upon expanding outdoor public recreational activities in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks and across New York.
In July 1926, over 2,000 people turn out in Lake George to welcome home Floyd Bennet, the pilot of the Byrd Expedition, which successfully flew over the North Pole.
Sculptor David Smith buys a dilapidated farm in Bolton and lives there off and on until his death in 1965. He refurbishes the farmhouse and builds a studio and produces some of his finest works in Bolton. Smith gains international recognition for his abstract sculptures.
1930 saw the death of steamboat pilot Leander Harris at the age of 98. For more than 60 years he was a steamboat pilot on the lake.
1931 saw the Blue Line of the Adirondack Park extended to include all the areas around Lake George. This act expanded the size of the Adirondack Park by 2.5 million acres! Lands surrounding the original 3.1 million acre Park were included. (The Adirondack Park was expanded again in 1956 and 1972 to include lands in the north) The "Tongue Mountain Parkway" was opened in 1931. This $2 million project by the State of New York took six years to complete. This route connected Hague to Bolton with a modern road for automobiles. In 1939, the memorial statue in honor the Isaac Joques, the French Missionary killed in the 1640s after a visit to Lake George, is dedicated before a crowd of 6,000 at the south end of Lake George.
The state acquires most of the remaining Knapp Estate, over 4,300 acres, for public use, around Shelving Rock, including lands around Paradise Bay.
In 1945, John Apperson assisted in state acquisition of the Lake George Narrows. In 1946 additional lands were purchased north of Black Mountain and in 1949 the summit of Black Mountain and lands around Shelving Rock were purchased by the state. In 1949 work began on the "Million Dollar Beach" on the south end of Lake George; the beach got its name due to the tremendous investment to bring in tons of sand.
The Fort William Henry was reconstructed and opened to the public as a museum in 1953. In 1955, Governor Thomas Dewey signed legislation to build the Prospect Mountain Memorial Highway in honor of America's war veterans.
In 1961, "the Lake George Park" was established to include all lands and waters within the Lake George watershed, an area of some 300 miles.
In 1962, the Village Caldwell changed to Village of Lake George.
In 1966, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller authorized funding to build the Prospect Mountain Memorial Highway, which was completed and opened in 1969.
1967 saw the completion of the Adirondack Northway, linking Albany and Montreal. The Northway reached Exits 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24, all feeding into Lake George in the succession in the early 1960s.
The RPI Fresh Water Institute begins scientific study of Lake George on the east side of Lake George at a facility on Smith Bay.
In 1968, Governor Rockefeller formed the Temporary Study Commission of the Future of the Adirondack Park with Harold Jerry as Executive Director. Harold Hochschild, founder of the Adirondack Museum and noted philanthropist who lived in Blue Mountain Lake, joined six months later as the Chairman of the Commission.
1971 saw the passage of the Adirondack Park Agency Act and the creation of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The APA was given authority to develop a Land Use and Development Plan for the Adirondack Park. This plan would set zoning densities for all private lands within the Park and management criteria for the state Forest Preserve lands. The creation of the APA forced local governments around the lake to develop local land use planning programs for the first time. In 1972, Governor Rockefeller signed the first Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, which set management criteria for the Forest Preserve.
In 1973 the Legislature adopted into law the Adirondack Park Land Use and Development Plan, covering the Park's private lands. In its simplest terms, the Plan is designed to channel much of the future growth in the Park around existing communities, where roads, utilities, services, and supplies already exist. Under the Act, all private lands in the Park are classified into one of six categories: Hamlet, Moderate Intensity, Low Intensity, Rural Use, Industrial Use, and Resource Management.
In 1977, the Nature Conservancy purchased the 1,400-acre Dunham Bay. This stunning wetland complex at the south end of Lake George becomes part of the Forest Preserve. In 1977, the Fund for Lake George is formed. The organization is dedicated to the protection of Lake George through lake science, advocacy and education.
1980 marks the first year of a long-term water quality monitoring program on Lake George sponsored by the Fund for Lake George and the Darrin Fresh Water Institute. This monitoring program continues today. 1980 also sees the establishment of the Darrin Fresh Water Institute at its current research station in Bolton.
In 1988, the Lake George Park law was reformed to expand the authority of the Lake George Park Commission. The LGPC was accorded authority for wastewater management, commercial use zones, stormwater management, signs, stream corridor and tree cutting controls, marine patrol, boat and dock management. This new law also began the process of mandatory special dock and boat registration fees, which support the functioning of the Commission. The original fee was $20 for the smallest boat, the basic rate for a residential dock was $25.
In 1990 the Lake George Land Conservancy is launched. Since then it has protected over 12,000 acres around the lake from development and poor land use practices. The Land Conservancy has been successful in protecting miles of wild shoreline and important areas including land adjoining Rogers Rock, Anthony's Nose, Jabe Pond, Berry Pond, highlands in Pilot Knob, among many others. The Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks also formed this year.
1999, the Lake George Watershed Conference is formed as a forum to bring together stakeholders to develop common solutions to threats and issues facing Lake George. In 2001, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by 23 local governments, public agencies and private organizations, including the FUND for Lake George.
The Lake George WATERKEEPER is launched in 2002 by the Fund for Lake George. Chris Navitsky begins as the Waterkeeper.
On October 2, 2005, at 2:55 p.m., with 47 passengers of mostly senior citizens on a fall foliage tour from Michigan and Ohio, the Ethan Allen capsized and sank just south of Cramer Point in the Town of Lake George. Twenty passengers died, and 27 survived. The accident caused government regulators to consider new laws on passenger boat capacity.
The constant around Lake George has been the profound emotional connection that people have for Lake George. This bond between people and place has been both passed down from generation to generation and is newly ignited each year by people who discover Lake George anew. The FUND for Lake George has been entrusted by many who love this lake to defend and preserve it to protect their experiences with the lake and also ensure that a similar experience will be available for their children and grandchildren.