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No-swimming signs, fencing were overkill

September 24, 2015
Editorial , Lake Placid News

We understand that the New York State Department of Health won't allow swimming at a municipal beach unless there are lifeguards on duty. It's a public safety concern. However, the amount of green fencing and signage that was used to deter swimmers from using the Mirror Lake beach was too much.

It's like yelling at residents and visitors, "Get lost! You're not welcome here!"

The unusually warm September weather was a temptation for people looking to cool off in Mirror Lake. Yet people continued to swim in the lake - as they usually do - in order to train in Ironman style, entering at the boat launch area near Mirror Lake Drive. Access to the lake should not be blocked, and a sampling of signs should be enough.

Article Photos

Many signs warned people not to swim at the Mirror Lake beach, and fencing kept them away from the water from Sept. 8 until later in the day on Monday, Sept. 21. These photos were taken Monday morning.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

The fencing was erected Sept. 8 and taken down on Monday, Sept. 21. The town's decision to create an overabundance of fencing was made to appease the DOH officials, and it worked. In the future, however, the state should be more flexible.

This was an ugly way to welcome people to the Olympic Village. They couldn't even take photos of the lake from the dock, as it was blocked by fencing. For a village that prides itself on beautiful scenery and relies heavily on tourist traffic, there has to be a better balance between public safety and keeping our scenic assets intact. Town of North Elba and village of Lake Placid officials understand this. The fencing was forced on them by an overzealous DOH staffer who warned town officials they would be in violation of state law if they didn't act soon.

The DOH should re-evaluate its standards and work better with local governments to make sure this never happens again.



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