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A Reunited Lake George Association to Hold Summer Gala

A Reunited Lake George Association to Hold Summer Gala June 8, 2022
Photo of lake from Diamond Point
Looking down the lake from Diamond Point

After a two-year hiatus, the event of the summer returns this July 23: the Lake George Association Summer Gala.

This year’s gala will be held under an open-air tent at The Festival Commons at Charles R. Wood Park in Lake George Village.

Proceeds will support the LGA’s science-guided research, water quality protection, property owner assistance and community education programs.

The event start at 6:30 p.m. Rather than a sit-down dinner, this year’s Gala will feature food stations and tastings from Farmacy of downtown Glens Falls.

Entertainment will be provided by Soul Session, featuring Garland Nelson. Tables will be available throughout the tent.

“Historically, the LGA Gala has sold out every year, with a waiting list as long as the lake,” said Gala Chairman Jim Casaccio. “Following our merger with The FUND for Lake George, and the long Gala hiatus, we have reimagined this year’s event to accommodate more people and have an even-more dynamic and festive atmosphere.”

“It’s time to thank our Lake for the natural splendor and economic vitality it brings to our region, and the treasured moments and memories it brings to our lives,” said Pete Menzies, Vice Chair of the LGA Board of Directors. “The LGA is looking forward to a fun, social evening where we can get together with friends who love and care about the Lake as much as we do.”

Celebrating the history of the LGA

The first modern LGA gala was held in 2010 to celebrate the organization’s 125th anniversary.

It proved to be so popular that it became an annual event.

Every year’s gala, though, is an opportunity to reflect upon the history and accomplishments of the nation’s oldest lake protection organization.

Established in 1885 as the Lake George Association for the Protection of Fish & Game, the LGA began operating under its current name in 1908. That year, it merged with the Bolton Improvement Association and another Bolton group known as the Lake George Association. The phrase “for the protection of fish and game” was dropped from the name, and a new constitution embracing the protection of all aspects of the lake was adopted.

The enlarged organization had its first annual meeting at the Sagamore hotel in September of that year. Governor Charles Evans Hughes – the Glens Falls native who would go on to serve as Secretary of State and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court – was the featured speaker.

The topic of the LGA meeting addressed by Hughes was buoys. New York State is now responsible for placing buoys in the lake, but that was not the case then. In fact, until 1908, there were only a dozen navigation markers. At the 1908 meeting, the LGA approved a resolution stating that all danger points should be marked. The following year, LGA voted to buy and install the buoys itself.

By the 1940s, the LGA was managing some 300 markers.  New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation assumed responsibility for buoys in the 1970s.

The steamboats that plied the waters of Lake George from the 1890s through the Great Depression were permitted to dump ash, sewage and garbage overboard. The LGA blocked passage of state legislation that would have permitted those practices to continue.

In 1922, the LGA hired the lake’s first sanitary inspector to monitor sewage from Lake George hotels. Sixty percent of these properties had non-complaint septic systems and were directly or indirectly polluting Lake George.

In 2010, the LGA worked with municipalities, the Lake George Land Conservancy, private foundations state agencies and The Fund for Lake George to restore a wetland at the mouth of West Brook to protect Lake George from urban pollutants.

Before the two groups divided and became separate, sometimes competing, organizations in 1980, The Fund for Lake George was the fundraising arm of the LGA. The two groups reunited in 2021, becoming the single largest, best-financed lake protection and advocacy organization in the United States.

Since then, the work that each organization pursued independently or jointly is now part of one portfolio.

Among its initiatives: invasive species controls; stormwater management; stream corridor protection; onsite wastewater system upgrades; road salt reduction; municipal wastewater treatment plant modernizations; education; groundbreaking research. 

Among the threats faced by the organization: Harmful Algal Blooms; nutrient loading from wastewater and stormwater runoff; aquatic and terrestrial invasive species, from Eurasian milfoil to Hemlock Wooly Adelgid; and road salt contamination. All threats are exacerbated by the effects of a changing climate.

“Both organizations have science in their DNA,” said Jeff Killeen, the Chairman of the LGA.  “The LGA has a legacy of education and citizen science and The Fund had the Waterkeeper and the Jefferson Project. With our combined assets and a single focus, we now deploy that science with greater efficiency and on a larger scale.” For questions about the Gala, including sponsorship opportunities, please call the LGA at (518) 668-9700.