“Without comparison, the most beautiful water I ever saw…”
Special Protection for a Special Place
Located about 50 miles north of Albany, Lake George is known internationally for its crystal-clear waters with a depth of up to 200 feet. It is considered to be among the clearest and cleanest large lakes in the world. Rich in natural and cultural history, Lake George is 32 miles long and up to 2.5 miles wide. Formed nearly 10,000 years ago by melting glaciers, the water clarity and scenic beauty of Lake George have been the key attributes of the Lake described by numerous writers over the years. In a letter to his daughter written in 1791, Thomas Jefferson famously declared Lake George to be, “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 wateredge: here and there precipices of rock to checker the scene and save it from monotony.”
Today, it is the water's crystal clarity that remains the Lake's signature, yet most threatened, natural feature. Desginated by New York State as Class AA-Special, drinking water quality, the Lake serves as the primary source of drinking water for surrounding communities and residents. Many still drink the water unfiltered.
Established as a Park by State law in 1961, Lake George was deemed “an area so distinctive in natural qualities and scenic beauty that it is deserving of special protection.” Indeed, it exists as a “park within a park,” situated at the southeastern flank of New York's six-million-acre Adirondack Park. Despite this special status, adequate protection has failed to be achieved. The results are now revealed in the Lake’s declining water quality, a condition demanding concerted action and sustaining commitment, a Legacy Strategy, that ensures the wonder of Lake George will live on.