Save The Islands Project



Over the past few years, the 2 islands in the middle of the lake were significantly eroding due to ice and waves. In 1997 at a Lake Association meeting, Heather Liggett and Gena Haresky requested that the Association look into protecting the islands from any more erosion. This simple but forward thinking request from these 2 young girls set in motion a project that would last over 3 years to complete.

During the winter of 1997 and spring of 1998, Sue Orzell researched and obtained permits from DEC to conduct the project. Newly elected president Dave King held numerous planning sessions throughout the spring of 1998 to develop a plan. Cost of rocks, gabions (wire cages), equipment, and funding were all considered. Based on input from numerous individuals, it was decided to transport the rocks to the small island and form piles in the water. In the fall when the water was lowered, the gabions would be formed, set in place and hand filled by volunteers. 

With $4500.00 of seed money from the Association, it was determined to allow individuals to buy a gabion for $135.00. Each gabian would be acknowledged with a commemorative brick put inside. The bricks were donated by Mike Palmer at a cost of over $800.00. A total of over $13,000.00 was donated from individuals for this project.

Numerous volunteers, young and old, helped in anyway they could. From Vince and Patty Maher allowing a dump truck to dump rocks on their lawn, to Earnie and Eva Southworth feeding the workers, to Jerry Rice donating gas and beverages, to Jack Koenig donating his ramp and lawn for access, to Kevin Koenig donating his backhoe, to Mike Palmer donating generators and bricks, Vince Maher donating a steel barge, to Barry and Judy Buyea building the gabions and collecting bottles for donations, to Dave King and Sue Orzell donating significant personal time and expense planning and coordinating the project, to the dozens and dozens of volunteers that worked throughout the summer weekends loading rocks and transporting them. This first year of the project would not have been successful without all of them.


The following pictures document the first year, 1998, of the project.



          In The Beginning - Vince and Patty Maher Camp 265- The First Stone Pile

 Hand loading hundreds of buckets for transport to the islands by boats.

Back Breaking work!


Unloading into piles in the water. It was thought this was the best way to form 4 large piles and when the lake went down in the fall, the gabians would be placed and filled. LITTLE DID WE KNOW!  Pictured Pat Rommevaux on boat, President Dave King (L), Jack Koenig (R) in water, and Bill Orzell on the pile.


                                              MORE UNLOADING


                 The Four Piles waiting for the fall draw down and the FUN to begin.

65 Cubic yards of stone weighing in excess of 150,000 pounds costing $750.00 were moved to island on 4 weekends using 336 total manhours.


                     THE FUN BEGINS - OCTOBER 17TH AND 18TH, 1998

The next few pictures are not the best quality because they were scanned photos that were then digitized which reduces the clarity although they show what and how the small island was saved. Remember this was never attempted before but with much help and generous donations of time and equipment, the small island project was completed before the snow arrived.






    •            The White Birch Lives On For Another Day! 


1-  65 Cubic yards of stone weighing in excess of 150,000 pounds costing $750.00 were moved to island on 4 weekends using 336 total manhours.

2- Construction and transport of 14 3X3X9 Foot Gabions @ $60 ea., 10 - 3X3X6 Foot Gabions @ $47 ea. Roll filter paper $ 400  35 manhours

3-  Bobcat rental $450

4-  2 days of construction on island 285 manhours

5-  Total 656 manhours, $3000 material/equipment

6-  In-kind equipment donation – Kevin Koenig –Bucket loader, Mike Palmer - generator, Vince Maher - large steel transport barge.


2nd Year-1999 Start Of The Big Island


1999 was the start of the second year. Based on experience learned from the first year it was thought that in order to speed up the process some changes were needed. By far and away three significant procedures were implemented.

First, Vince Maher donated a steel barge that was used to transport the rocks to the island. This significantly saved wear and tear on people’s boats, except for the First Lady, Susan King’s Jet Ski that was used to push the barge back and forth for the two years. By handling rocks only once, considerable time was saved not to mention people’s backs.

Second, the travel time to the island was significantly lessened by loading the rocks from the west side. Incredibly, Gordon and Betty Ward SACRIFICED their lawn and shoreline for two years by allowing a large dump truck to unload huge piles of stone through out the summer plus endure all the people and equipment loading the barge. So much for enjoying a peaceful weekend on the lake!

Third, Gary Ward designed and built a dumping trailer which considerably reduced the time and effort required to load the rocks by hand onto the barge. Jim Brown donated his bob-cat to load the rocks onto the trailer. While the barge was being unloaded by a significant contingent of workers on the island, the trailer was being loaded and ready to fill the barge for the next load. Significant progress was made using this procedure.

Unfortunately not everything goes as planned. 1999 was the second year of a region wide drought. Throughout July and August, the lake was down so far from lack of rain that the barge was not able to get next to the gabions. The rocks had to be carried by hand, buckets and wheel barrow to the gabions. Some of the following pictures can attest to this. Never the less, significant progress was achieved this second year thankfully to the unselfishness of Gordon and Betty Ward, Gary Ward, Jim Brown, and Dave and Susan King.

Gary Ward designed and built this dump trailer that saved time and people's backs with Jim Brown using his bob-cat. This reduced the number of volunteers needed to fill individual buckets with stone and carry them to the barge. Tremendous time saver allowing volunteers to take a weekend off.


          Hand carrying stone from the barge to the gabions due to lake being down.


                                 Even used a wheel barrow to speed unloading


                                               Waiting to be filled - July 25, 1999


                                                         More Hand Carrying


                                                                     MEET THE SLACKERS


3rd and Final Year - 2000 

Everything went perfect in 2000 the final year. With the lake up to where it normally would be, the fully loaded barge was able to get next to the gabions which allowed for much faster unloading which allowed for some weekends free towards the end of summer for all the volunteers.

We were even able to take extra loads of rocks and line the inside shore of the islands. The fake ramp constructed off of Wards sea wall was removed and their lawn was finally cleaned and seeded.

Filter paper was laid down behind the gabions to stop the soil from washing out. Thanksgiving weekend was the weekend selected to backfill the island with a rented tracked backhoe and operator Floyd Wood. Unfortunately, a cold spell hit the area and the lake was beginning to freeze much earlier than usual. The following pictures will attest to this. We literally had to complete the filling by the end of the weekend or the lake would have frozen over completely and we would have had no way to get the backhoe off the islands until the following spring. Very costly.


                      The Last Day - No Choice With The Unusual Early Winter Set In


                                          The Dirt Goes On The Other Side - ROOKIES!


                                                         Ice Setting In The Background


                                                                  No Time To Waste



                                                   WASTING TIME


                                            Uh Oh!


The ramp we made out of pallets broke and there was a huge issue getting the backhoe on. Dave King and Jack Koenig held the barge in place with pipes hammered down in mud behind barge to stop it from "walking" out into the lake. Miracle operator Floyd Wood was able to use the backhoe arm to pull the machine up onto the barge. Oh Yea, and a push from Dick Alter - Sure!



                     WAS IT ALL WORTH IT?


ed to first year



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