Second annual Maintain the Chain event invites all to pitch in during Adirondack Water Week
By Jamie Organski
What began as a family tradition of sprucing up the area around their Fourth Lake camp has evolved into a widespread clean up event dubbed Maintain the Chain (MTC) that focuses efforts on the Fulton Chain of Lakes.
In its inaugural year as a formal event in 2021, Maintain the Chain garnered support from the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association (FCLA), towns of Webb and Inlet, and the Sixth and Seventh Lakes Improvement Association, and partnered with the Adirondack Watershed Institute. The momentum continues for this year’s event, set for Aug. 5-14. The event coincides with Adirondack Water Week and the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act.
How it started
Carin Gonsalves, who participates in the clean-up effort several times each year with her husband, Maurits Boon, and children, Nolan and Isabella said they make a concerted effort to contribute toward the preservation and beautification of the Adirondacks.
The couple, who reside in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, bought their Old Forge camp in 2007 and have frequented the Adirondacks for over 20 years. Their children have grown up learning to respect the environment and wildlife by physically taking matters into their own hands, getting a little dirty, and helping to preserve their camp and the park by ridding it of trash and other debris.
After hearing of the Boon family’s efforts, John Jeffery and Raymond Letterman of the FCLA expressed desire to join forces to create the annual clean-up event, noting that the FCLA strives to engage families and children in environmental quality issues.
Gonsalves said the Boon family and FCLA were thrilled with the number of teams and people who participated in the MTC event last year, and are honored to partner with the Adirondack Council and Adirondack Watershed Institute.
“To achieve so much recognition in such a short period of time is humbling and it means that our passion and desire to protect the Adirondack Park has not gone unnoticed,” Gonsalves said. “We are hoping MTC continues in perpetuity and inspires others to do their part to protect the environment and irreplaceable resources of the Adirondack Park.”
The event at a glance
MTC event organizers will host a kick-off event for registered participants on Aug. 7 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Great Pines Lodge in Old Forge. The event will feature guest speakers including Tom Collins from the Adirondack Watershed Institute, Blake Neumann from the Adirondack Council, Dr. Nina Schoch from the Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation and Mark Steigerwald, President of the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association.
The MTC event includes lake clean-up, and roadside, campsites and trail clean-up. Participants may also take another route and educate families/team members about an environmental issue (such as harmful algae blooms or invasive species) by crafting a poster or video.
Those who wish to take part, but won’t be in the region are welcome to participate in a self-directed project at their convenience.
Registrants are asked to submit descriptions and photos of their clean-up efforts or projects by emailing [email protected] by Aug.22 to be eligible for gifts of appreciation and the 2022 MTC “Best Project” award.
Learn more and sign up www.maintainthechain.net.