An enduring paradise.
Lake George is a natural work of art. With its 32 miles of dazzling blue waters, green forested hillsides, and spectacular mountains it is simply paradise and it is ours to lose.
For hundreds of years, the lake has played muse to authors and artists, and inspired all who experienced its wonder. Today, every bit as beautiful and inspiring as ever, it needs our help.
Lake George is our home, a place to enjoy and cherish. The future of the lake and the way we experience it is at a crossroads.
A greater good.
Each of us makes choices in our lifetime, some small, some not so small. Organizations make decisions too, and, from time to time, those decisions promise to outlive the organizations’ members.
The Lake George Association, The Fund for Lake George and the Lake George Land Conservancy have made the commitment of a lifetime. These three groups will work together to complete the West Brook Conservation Initiative with the sole purpose of preserving Lake George.
There is no competition, no pursuit of individual glory, there is simply a love for the lake and a loyalty to the mission of protecting it.
Collaboration runs deep.
Our efforts are enormous. Armed with decades of experience and a record of accomplishments that span generations, the partners banded together to confront this major challenge.
The act of collaboration gives the lake the greatest chance for a healthy future. West Brook has long been identified as a source of damage to the lake. In fact, 50% of the pollutants that enter the south basin of Lake George come from West Brook.
The lake’s well being is what counts. The environmental partners have purchased a conservation easement on Gaslight Village to develop a wetland park to protect Lake George. Further, they have purchased a significant portion of the most vulnerable watershed lands, the 1,400-acre Berry Pond tract. The Town and Village of Lake George and Warren County supported this easement through purchase of the site.
A very direct threat.
The biggest threat to Lake George, you may be surprised to learn, is in the water that pours into the lake.
With every rain, stormwater carries pollutants, chemicals, and nutrients into the lake. West Brook, once a stream that meandered through an expanse of wetlands, has become a pipeline for pollutants and sediment. Nature’s flawless filtering, an ecological system of checks and balances, has been stopped, leaving the lake in real peril.
To allow West Brook to continue to be a pipeline of pollution is tantamount to destroying the lake drop by drop, gallon by gallon, rainstorm after rainstorm.
The West Brook Conservation Initiative will effectively eliminate the largest source of contaminants to the south basin.
Purchase of the 12-acre parcel defended against further lakeshore development. At Berry Pond, the headwaters of West Brook, 1,400-acres were purchased, and will eventually be added to the Forest Preserve.
The Gaslight Village area will see demolition of buildings that have stood empty for decades. From the rubble will emerge a new environmental park and festival space that will be used for a variety of public events.
Protection from summit to shore.
Not sure what we mean when we talk about imminent danger, irreparable harm, and immediate action? The south basin of Lake George has changed, literally.
The water quality has been steadily deteriorating due to the cumulative effects of stormwater runoff from development, both residential and commercial, that continues to take place on the steep slopes all around the south basin.
Stormwater will collect in settling ponds and flow into engineered wetlands before entering Lake George. Engineers estimate that 90% of all sediments will remain behind. Wetlands will also filter out more than half of the nutrients carried by stormwater.
Restoring part of what once was.
West Brook was once a meandering brook at the south end of the lake surrounded by vast wetlands, similar to Dunham's Bay Brook and Northwest Bay Brook areas. Wetlands are vital to a healthy lake as they take up nutrients and act as a filter.
The decisions to site Fort William Henry and Fort George at those locations was related to the abundant wetlands nearby that helped with the defenses of these forts. The development of the railroad, lumber yard, rail yard, and Beach roads at the south end of Lake George all resulted in the straightening and channelizing West Brook and filling in all associated wetlands.
Restoration of part of these long lost wetlands will help to uptake nutrients before they reach the lake, treat and cleanse waters, and remove pollutants before they reach Lake George.
Wish you were here.
In addition to the environmental benefits, the region will benefit from new, public space. What was once a dilapidated eyesore will be a green, open destination for families.
Nature trails and walkways will criss-cross the marshes; open fields will be home to picnics and frisbee games. Interpretive signage throughout the property will inform and educate visitors about the environmental science behind the project, and tell the history of the land, as well.
In the uplands above the south basin of Lake George, 1,400 acres of forests around Berry Pond will be safe from development. The headwaters of West Brook will stay as wild and pure as they are today. Below, wetlands will be restored.
A legacy of action.
Opportunities to change and turn back time are rare and precious.
The West Brook Conservation Initiative is the single greatest effort to preserve Lake George. The most ambitious environmental project undertaken on Lake George, the West Brook Conservation Initiative will reap rewards for every part of the lake, north to south, east to west, summit to shore.
This Initiative will reclaim part of what once was and pass a healthier lake on to future generations.
We need your help.
Join the West Brook Conservation Initiative, an unprecedented partnership of three lake-saving organizations. Get involved today and help save Lake George.
The ambition of this project and the magnitude of the threat it will eliminate, gives everyone around the lake and all who care for the lake, a stake in our success. The time is now.
The threat facing the lake is genuine; the opportunity we offer you is everlasting. Your commitment will live in each dawn that breaks over the lake and ring in the echoes of laughter from generations to come.
Working together made this project a reality.
Your contribution will make it a success.
The West Brook Conservation Initiative seeks to raise $15 million to complete to purchase of the 1,400-acre Berry Pond Tract and Gaslight Village lands and then build the environmental park at West Brook. The FUND for Lake George, Lake George Association and Lake George Land Conservancy have partnered in this capital campaign. Working together we aim to raise $6 million from private and corporate contributions in order to leverage $9 million in public support from local, state and federal programs. To date we have raised over $1 million towards our $6 million goal. On the public side, we have raised over $7 million in grants and commitments. Please contact any of the three organizations to find out how you can support this ambitious lake protection project.
For more information download a 16-page publication or a brochure. Pledge forms can also be easily downloaded.