We read the “Marina roils the water” article in the Adirondack Explorer (Jan/Feb, 2017) and were surprised by the article’s inattention to the concerns of many members of the Saranac community regarding the proposed size of the marina. While the old marina clearly needs to be rebuilt, expanding the marina’s boat capacity by 110—so that it can house 270 large boats—would completely change the character of Lower Saranac Lake.
At present, all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts share the lake harmoniously—paddlers, swimmers, campers, water skiers, fishermen, sailboats, and rowboats. The lake is home to several loons and bald eagles, who return every year to raise new families. Loons need clear water, large lakes, and relative calm—all of which are threatened by such a dramatic increase in motorized boat traffic.
Perhaps more troubling to some are the potential negative economic impacts. The marina expansion proposed for Ampersand Bay would extend out into the bay 344 feet—longer than a football field! Not only would this mar the beauty of the bay, it would greatly compromise the experience that Ampersand Bay Resort can offer, as the marina would jut out in front of the resort beach.
We have been unable to find evidence of a marina this size anywhere else in the Adirondacks. Considering that this almost doubles the original marina’s capacity, and that boats are much larger and more powerful than they used to be, the risks are great to this lovely, relatively undisturbed, mostly publicly owned lake. They include a potentially negative impact on tourism in response to degradation of the truly unique experience Lower Saranac offers via its eighty-seven pristine public campsites. Anyone paddling and motorboating from the public launch sites will find it difficult and unpleasant to navigate the islands and mostly narrow stretches of the lake if many more boats, compared to current numbers, are out at the same time.
We need a modern marina, but not one so large it will degrade a prime Adirondack waterbody.
Herb and Sue Cohen, Saranac Lake
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