By Guy Middleton, Lake Manager
In the early 1990’s, the Upper Saranac Lake Foundation took the necessary steps to assure the nearly 100 year old failing Bartlett Carry Dam was restored. The dam itself was purchased, necessary permits obtained and access to the dam was acquired through easements. Reconstruction of the dam was completed in March of 1994. The dam ensures that Upper Saranac Lake remains accessible and navigable, not to mention alleviating potential dangers downstream. No less important, the dam maintains a water level, which protects lakeside wetlands, and other natural habitats for fish and wildlife. Without the dam, the lake level would drop nearly four feet in elevation, leaving docks and boathouses high and dry.
Although the USLF has taken on many projects since, we have now come full circle. Nearly 20 years later, the Upper Saranac Lake Foundation, and the lake residences, again must step forward to assure that the integrity of the Bartlett Carry Dam is maintained. Accumulated, minor maintenance needs since 1993, and this year’s high water (which the dam handled with no problems), have put additional stress on the dam that holds back as much as eight billion gallons of Upper Saranac Lake’s water surface. Stressed and failed dams throughout the Adirondack Park have increased the importance of the USLF’s implementation of a State mandated Dam Safety Inspection and Maintenance Plan, and the emplacement of a USLF Dam Emergency Action Plan. These measures include: engineering studies, reports and inspections, state processing requirements, obtaining permits, masonry repair and renovation of the dam’s access road.
The Bartlett Carry Dam stands as a powerful testament to what a community of people, both committed and giving, can achieve. Since the dam is privately owned, making it ineligible for government funding, past and planed restoration actions by the USLF are from your donations and contributions. With your continued generosity, and the Upper Saranac Lake Association’s “Matching Fund Initiative”, we can assure that the Bartlett Carry Dam will continue to maintain the integrity and serenity of Upper Saranac Lake for generations to come.