Environmental agencies choose a preferred Lake George resting place
Remains of Revolutionary War soldiers uncovered in recent years may receive a formal burial site in the coming years. The state Department of Environmental Conservation proposed reinterment at the Lake George Battlefield State Park. The project would require an amendment to the site’s Unit Management Plan.
Charles Vandrei, historic preservation officer for the DEC, presented the plan to the Adirondack Park Agency at the APA’s Thursday meeting. Vandrei and volunteers helped recover the remains for more than a year, which likely came from soldiers and their families.
Most of the remains, which came from a total of 44 people, are from men, he said. Some are from women and at least one child.
Members of the Lake George community showed interest and support for the project, Vandrei said.
The proposed resting place would include freestanding vaults, a stone sitting wall, information signs, benches and walkways. Tree-cutting and excavation are unneeded, Vandrei said.
The initial discovery happened during digging for a basement at a triplex apartment building in February 2019. Artifacts found include regimental coat buttons from the First Pennsylvania Battalion that invaded Canada in 1776. A smallpox outbreak from the period may have caused some of the deaths, he said.
The burial ground is not the first to be discovered in Lake George.
In years past 18th-century human remains were discovered in the area, once when the village was installing a water main. The Lake George Battlefield State Park already holds the remains of four soldiers from 1755.
Vandrei said the DEC is doing DNA and isotope analyses to determine more about the people whose bones were discovered.
“We’re going to hopefully learn at least a little bit about these folks,” he said.
The DEC and APA are accepting comments on the proposed project until Feb. 19.
The agency board voted to set the comment period. It accepted an environmental impact statement from the State Land Committee on proposed changes to the 2023-24 State Land Classification package. The documents later will be sent to the governor for approval.