Stec: NYS must do more to protect the Lake

By David Cederstrom, Chronicle Staff Writer

“I think it’s too much for the state to expect that private citizens and local government are going to pick up the water that, frankly, the state should be carrying,” Assemblyman Dan Stec told the 129th annual meeting of the Lake George Association on Friday, Aug. 22.

Mr. Stec, the meeting’s keynote speaker, praised the funding help from local municipalities and groups such as the LGA and the Fund for Lake George that have made the new boat inspection effort against invasive species such a success.

But as to whether the program can remain free for boaters in the long run, Mr. Stec said, “Sadly, I think probably not.”

He said the local funding has put off debate about tapping money sources such as taxing districts, marinas and boater fees.

Mr. Stec said that as a Republican, he suggests that more state funding could come from the Environmental Protection Fund. He acknowledged that some environmentalists will want to reserve that fund for state land purchases.

He added that whether there could be a mandatory boat inspection program statewide has yet to be adequately addressed.

Mr. Stec noted that due to redistricting, “for the first time, perhaps ever, all of Lake George is now in a single Assembly district, so I’m honored to be the Assemblyman that represents Lake George.”

State Assemblyman Dan Stec was the keynote speaker at the Lake George Association’s 129th annual meeting that took place at the Lake George Club on Friday, Aug. 22. Chronicle photo/David Cederstrom
State Assemblyman Dan Stec was the keynote speaker at the Lake George Association’s 129th annual meeting that took place at the Lake George Club on Friday, Aug. 22.
Chronicle photo/David Cederstrom

He notes that as the former Queensbury Town Supervisor and chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, “I cut my teeth on Lake George issues more at the local level.”

Mr. Stec said, “We laid good groundwork for a lot of good things that are happening  now,” through cooperation on the West Brook Initiative, which is transforming the former Gaslight Village property in Lake George into the Charles R. Wood Park, with a reconstituted wetland and a festival space for events.

“I couldn’t agree more,” he said, “that partnerships that I saw at the local level” between local governments and non-profits such as the LGA and the Fund for Lake George have been vital in the fight against invasive species.

He said, “To a disappointingly lesser extent,” the state government has been involved, but “they’re coming along and get ting on board now.”

Mr. Stec said there were two invasive species bills approved in both the State Senate and Assembly this year and sent on to Gov. Cuomo. One would standardize educational signage about invasive species statewide. The other is a state law similar to Warren County’s local law prohibiting transport of invasive species.

Mr. Stec said, “Fighting invasive species is expensive….The issue for the state legislature is, ‘Lake George is great, Lake George is beautiful, Lake George is a treasure and a resource, but Lake George isn’t the only lake in the state, and everyone’s lake is important to them,”

He said Lake George is unique in having groups such as the LGA involved, plus a state agency, the Lake George Park Commission, that has some regulatory authority over the lake.

Mr. Stec said, “The argument that I was using in Albany,” in the legislature, with the Governor’s offices and with the Department of Environmental Conservation, is that the Park Commission’s mandatory boat inspection program on Lake George not only protects this special asset, but will provide lessons about what works and what doesn’t that can be applied statewide.

“What a godsend it was, not only for our lake but all the Adirondacks and the state, that [the mandatory program] is off to a great start,” he said.

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