Fulton Chain of Lake Association Adirondack Fourth Lake
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Fulton Chain of Lakes
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Nina Schoch

The Wildlife Conservation Society's Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program is dedicated to improving the
overall health of the environment. The Loon Program is a collaborative research and education organization that focuses on the natural history of the common loon (Gavia immer) and conservation issues affecting loon populations and their aquatic habitats. Initiated in 2001, the Loon Program is a partnership of the Wildlife Conservation Society, Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks/Wild Center, New York State Department of
Environmental Conservation, Biodiversity Research Institute, and the Audubon Society of New York State.

For more information, click here.

What is the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association?

The Fulton Chain of Lakes is located in the Central Adirondack Mountains of New York State. It consists of eight lakes starting at a dam at Old Forge extending through navigable waters into Fifth Lake and then by portage to the dam at Sixth lake through Eighth lake. This Fulton Lake reservoir holds 6.8 billon gallons of water and is part of a river system extending to Lake Ontario. The reservoir is managed by the Hudson River Black River Regulating District. Maintaining the purity of the Fulton Chain waters is essential to the local economy and its resident’s quality of life.

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Beach Area On The NE Part Of The Lake
  • Beach Area On The NE Part Of The Lake
    Beach Area On The NE Part Of The Lake
  • Area Behind The Beach
    Area Behind The Beach
  • Area Behind The Beach Area
    Area Behind The Beach Area
  • Island At The End Of 7th Lake
    Island At The End Of 7th Lake
  • Canoe Carry Landing Site On NE Area
    Canoe Carry Landing Site On NE Area
  • Pond Connected To &th Lake Along  RT 28
    Pond Connected To &th Lake Along RT 28
  • Pond Connected To 7th On RT 28
    Pond Connected To 7th On RT 28
  • 7th Lake Going Into 8th Lake.
    7th Lake Going Into 8th Lake.
  • 7th Lake Going Into 8th Lake
    7th Lake Going Into 8th Lake
  • South Corner Of 7th Near RT 28
    South Corner Of 7th Near RT 28
  • South Corner Of 7th Lake Near Rt 28
    South Corner Of 7th Lake Near Rt 28

Beach Area On The NE Part Of The Lake

In 1966, a group of lake front property owners suspected the waters to be polluted. They conducted water tests that resulted in bacterial levels that exceeded levels which would prohibit public swimming. As a result of this testing the N Y S Health Department threatened to close the public swimming beach located on Old Forge Pond. The number of ear infections and other health related problems occurring in Old Forge were a direct result of the water quality in the Fulton Chain.

Land Owners looked to state and local agencies for assistance but because of the limited government recourses it became clear government help was not forthcoming. As a result many volunteers banded together to clean up the lake themselves. They held public meetings; they called upon other residents; they wrote endless letters to public officials and eventually in 1968 formed the Fulton Chain of Lakes Improvement Association, now recognized as the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association.

The purpose of the organization was and is today to protect our very precious resource, the water. The incorporation was signed September 15, 1968, at the home of Tom Shepherd. The initial signatures of the document were: Tom McCabe, Sr., Larry Doering, Lou Bonnett, L.C. Howell, Alan Burstein, Emilie Jones, Hubert Jones, Edward Mc Laughlin, Thomas Shepherd, and Ross Zornow. The election of officers was conducted on September 24, 1968. The following people were elected. Hubert Jones, President, L. C. Howell, V. P., Frieda Scholl, Secretary, Carlton Barker, Treasurer. The Board of Directors included Marjorie Simpson Bonnett, Reverend Francis Edie, Roger Dean, Alan Burstein, Esquire, Lou Bonnett, Russell Johnson, Larry Doering, Tom McCabe, Sr. Bill Brodock, Charles Grove, Don Burnap, and Bill Tidd.

The Board established a sanitary code that was eventually adopted by the Town of Webb Board. The code specified distances allowed between septic systems and the lake and other related rules. Because of the increase of members from 150 the first year to 600 the next year enough money was raised to hire a full time inspector who conducted dye tests of septic systems, issued violations and collected lake water samples for testing. The inspector worked closely with the Towns of Webb and Inlet Codes Enforcement Officers.

Numerous violations of the new code were discovered by dye testing residents’ septic systems. Most homeowners were not aware that they were in violation. When they were notified of defects in their system, the majority of homeowners quickly corrected the problem. Within two years the water quality had improved from a coliform count of 40,000 per 100 ml to well under 2400 per 100 ml which is the state maximum allowed for public swimming. Coliform counts now average less than 3 per 100 ml.

Over the years, the organization has been instrumental in water safety issues on the lake including water craft speed limits and noise levels. The FCLA prints and distributes a navigation map for all residents and visitors in the area. The Association has assisted the local Sheriff departments in purchasing decibel level meters, GPS, radar for their patrol boats, and other equipment. The FCLA played a major role in convincing the Town of Webb to discontinue use of the carcinogenic spray Dibrom 14 to eradicate black flies. The Town now uses BTI a safe and effective larvicide. The organization led several lake and property owner groups to convince municipal officers to amend the zoning ordinance to severely limit contractual access on water front property. The FCLA was one of the first lake associations in NY State to participate in their Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP) sponsored by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Lake water testing has included not only coliform and pH levels but also heavy metals and testing for zebra muscles. The FCLA has in the past given monetary rewards to local students who study and participate in environmental pursuits.

diving for watermilfoilPresently the FCLA is channeling their efforts to prevent Eurasian Milfoil from spreading into the entire Fulton Chain. Milfoil now grows in Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Lake. A labor intensive program of hand harvesting the milfoil is in full swing. The FCLA in conjunction with the Towns of Inlet and Webb were successful in qualifying for a grant to help pay for the program. Rivett’s Boat Livery, operated by Chris and Diane Gage, generously donated a party barge to assist scuba divers in their pursuit of removing the weeds.

Since 1968, the Fulton Chain of Lakes Association has been an effective deterrent to water pollution and protection of the Fulton Chain environment. The organization has received many awards from local, state, and national sources. They include a Congressional nomination for the “President’s Volunteer Action Award”, a Commendation from the Environmental Protection Agency and the “Adirondack Centennial Stewardship Award” from New York State.

The Association has been an inspiration to other lake associations. It is not without the countless hours dedicated by Directors over the years that the FCLA has been so successful. It is not without the support of the membership that the organization has accomplished its goals.


Members’ annual dues and donations are the only source of revenue for FCLA. Our budget covers, lake water tests, supplies to conduct these tests, newsletter, website, and clerical costs. The FCLA recognizes a Town of Webb High School student who exhibits keen interest in preserving the environment with a scholarship. The membership is over 700 strong, but the goal is to include as members all people who benefit from pure waters.

To become a member and/or make a donation, fill out our application below, and mail it with your check payable to FCLA, PO Box 564, Old Forge, NY 13420. All monies are tax deductible. You will need Adobe Acrobat to view application.

pdf Click to download Membership Application (48k .pdf)

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