Abundance of boats put damper on $2.3M plan to
Carmel - Rowboats used on Lake Gleneida are cluttering the shoreline of the highly visible lake, and the mess threatens to undermine the town's $2.3 million effort to spruce up its downtown, officials and residents said.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection is in charge of Lake Gleneida, created in 1870 when the city built a dam to create a controlled lake. The lake is part of a vast drinking water system that supplies all of New York City, 90 percent of Westchester County and 10 percent of Putnam County.
"The DEP is working on new access arrangements," Geoff Ryan, a spokesman for the city agency said. The agency is in the process of providing gates at two boat launches near routes 301 and 6 to limit vehicular access on the shore and gathering the boats into central locations, he said.
"It will be a good partnership. As people walk through the town they will see a beautiful shoreline and organized system of boating," Town Supervisor Frank Del Campo said.
What people see now is something else.
Lake Gleneida is the smallest of the three lakes within the Croton watershed. The other two are Lake Gilead and Kirk Lake, also in Carmel. What distinguishes Lake Gleneida is its prime location, at the center of the Carmel hamlet off routes, 6, 52 and 301. The highly traveled roads make the many boats cluttering the lake's shoreline noticeable, even to those who don't fish or boat there.
"When you come into Carmel, the lakeshore is one of the prettiest areas to look at," resident Betsy Lampersberger said. "It's so visible, but no one seemed to be paying attention."
She told the Carmel Town Board in mid-March that there seemed to be an overabundance of boats piled up along the shore and asked the town to remedy the problem.
The current situation is "deplorable," Del Campo wrote in a March 22 letter to the DEP.
He explained that the shoreline condition would compromise the town's plan to improve the appearance of the hamlet. The town has a $2.3 million grant from the state Department of Transportation to revitalize Route 6 from Putnam Plaza and Route 52 to near the Kent border. Granite sidewalks, lighting and benches are planned, and Route 52 will be widened with turning lanes, Del Campo said. The town expects to begin the bidding process on the project this spring.
New York City officials, who say they examine the shorelines each spring, agreed to address the lakeside problem.
Several unregistered boats from the lake have been removed, and signs have been installed stating that access is limited to those fishing or boating with DEP permits.
Due to New York City water regulations, boats in the lakes or reservoirs must be steam cleaned and kept at the assigned water body even over the winter. This is to prevent the contamination of the water supply by pollutants and invasive species such as Zebra mussels, which damaged the Great Lakes, Ryan said.
There are 276 boats at Lake Gleneida and nearly 53 boats have expired permits, Del Campo said. "Boats are lying all over the shoreline, and vehicle tracks are ruining the landscape," he said, adding that he has suggested that the DEP construct simple storage racks to contain the boats.
The DEP has implemented a temporary moratorium on new boats at Lake Gleneida until the agency can determine the appropriate number of boats for the location, a DEP official said in an April 11 letter to the town.
Cleaning up the shoreline sounded like a good idea to angler Jeff Lutz of Kent, who earlier this week caught a few sunfish while fishing from the water's edge.
"This is a great spot and they should make sure it stays nice," he said, gathering his poles and buckets. "But I hope they don't limit the permits. I'm hoping to get a boat myself – there's trout out there."