The Lake George Park Commission plans to expand the boat inspection program next spring, starting inspections and washing earlier in the year, but believes it can cut tens of thousands of dollars from the inspection program’s budget.
The commissioner’s executive director, David Wick, updated Warren County leaders on the first year of the project. As of Oct. 5, 19,141 boats had been inspected prior to launch this year, and 1,253 of them required decontamination.
Wick said 149 boats were found to have “aquatic invasive species,” ranging from milfoil to zebra mussels. Boats came from 542 different water bodies.
Wick said the Park Commission plans to begin boat inspections on April 15 next year, instead of May 15 as was done this year. He said the agency has funding for next year as part of a two-year pilot program, and believes it can trim staff costs to save $50,000 to $100,000.
“We were under budget. We had $700,000 and will probably end up spending around $600,000,” he said.
Wick said adding an additional boat washing and inspection station at a rest stop on the Northway is being explored, but may not be feasible economically.
The six stations that were operated this year — Lake George landfill, Dunham’s Bay Marina, Mossy Point, Roger’s Rock, Norowal Marina and Huletts Landing Marina — will likely be operated again next year.
Norowal was the busiest inspection site, followed by Lake George landfill. Huletts Landing was the least busy. The stations will be open until Dec. 1.
Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson noted that 21 boat owners who were headed to other waters had their boats disinfected as they came out of the lake, at their owners’ request.
“You come out of Lake George, you have potentially five invasive species,” Dickinson said.
Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe and Horicon Supervisor Matthew Simpson said concerns that conservation groups and anglers had about the delays of inspections were satisfied. Simpson said some he spoke with wanted to see that other lakes, beside Lake George, were protected as well.
“They want to know what we are going to do for the other lakes where they fish and recreate,” Simpson said.
Inspection stations were opened early for bass tournaments at which angling starts in the early morning.