Plans for Lake George’s First Managed Wildlife Refuge Area Aided by State and Local Support
Since the Lake George Land Conservancy acquired “the Last Great Shoreline,” 350 acres and three-quarters of a mile of shoreline on the lake’s northeastern shore, the organization has worked to develop that property, as well as preserves at Anthony’s Nose, and Gull Bay, into Lake George’s first managed wildlife refuge.
With the assistance of two state grants announced in April, the approval of the Lake George Park Commission for a dock and an in-kind donation from the LA Group, the Lake George Wildlife Refuge is becoming a reality, said Nancy Williams, the Conservancy’s executive director.
“Among our priorities was the construction of a dock that would give boaters access to the refuge, and that will be in place this summer,” said Williams. “We hope access from the lake will draw more people to the preserve and help educate them about the need to protect lands to preserve water quality, defend wildlife and provide recreational opportunities.”
The Lake George Park Commission unanimously approved a 30-foot-long, 6-foot-wide stake dock for the preserve at its April 18 meeting in Bolton Landing.
A trail from the dock will lead hikers through a portion of the preserve.
The dock will be removed every August; visitors will be asked to register and the site will be monitored, Williams said.
A $44,000 Conservation Partnership Program grant, one of fifty such grants awarded to land trusts throughout the state from the Department of Environmental Conservation, will help fund the planning and design of the wildlife refuge.
That planning work will be supplemented by an in-kind donation from the LA Group, the Saratoga-based landscape, architecture and planning firm, has volunteered to assist the Lake George Land Conservancy with the development of a master plan for the refuge.
According to Tracey Clothier, a senior planner at the firm, the contribution is made possible through the LA Group’s participation “The 1%” program,” through which architectural firms donate services to not-for-profit organizations. Recipients of donated services in the past include Wiawaka, the retreat for women on Lake George.
According to Clothier, the master plan will include a link between the Gull Bay and Last Great Shoreline preserves and the extension of trails to state land north of Anthony’s Nose.
“The master plan will help unify the Refuge through a comprehensive interpretive signage program that highlights the site’s vernal pools, wetlands and views and wildlife,” said Clothier.
An additional $2,450 Conservation Partnership Program will help fund the survey of a recent acquisition that links the Gull Bay and Last Great Shoreline Preserves, said Nancy Williams.
To enhance the visitors’ experience at the refuge, the Conservancy intends to produce educational materials, such as informational signs and children’s nature activity booklets, Williams said.
The Conservancy also has plans to purchase land for public access to Anthony’s Nose, restore wetland habitat for migrating birds and purchase a farmhouse for an animal rehabilitation and educational research center.
More than $200,000 was raised at last summer’s Land and Water Conservation Celebration to help fund some of those projects, said Williams.