Two county boards of supervisors called Friday for future law enforcement action against Log Bay Day, the annual drinking party on Lake George that is believed to have contributed to a fatal boating accident in July.
The Warren County and Washington County boards of supervisors adopted resolutions urging the Lake George Park Commission and other state agencies to do what they can to control the rowdy boat party held each July in a shallow bay next to the lake’s eastern shore.
The resolutions contribute to Log Bay Day opposition that has grown since July 25, the day an 8-year-old girl was killed when her grandparents’ boat was struck by a boat whose occupants had allegedly been at Log Bay Day before the crash.
The identically worded resolutions don’t call for outright prohibition of the party, acknowledging the “right to assemble.”
But they also cite the law enforcement costs that stem from the event and request “measures to curb the dangerous and destructive activities associated with Log Bay Day.”
[Read the entire Warren County resolution]
County officials hope the resolutions lead to increased law enforcement for next year’s event, should there be one.
“We don’t have jurisdiction, so we’re writing a resolution in support of our local law enforcement and asking that the state agencies enforce the law,” said Warrensburg Town Supervisor Kevin Geraghty, chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors.
The Park Commission is already working on plans to increase enforcement or somehow prevent the event, said David Wick, the commission’s executive director.
The Park Commission is a state agency that manages the popular recreational lake, which lies mostly in Warren and Washington counties. The agency also enforces boating law and responds to accidents on the lake.
Alexander M. West, 24, of Queensbury, faces felony charges of leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it, stemming from the nighttime crash that killed Charlotte McCue of Carlsbad, California.
McCue was visiting grandparents who live on the lake. Her mother was seriously injured in the crash, which happened just off Cramer Point.
Warren County Sheriff Nathan “Bud” York has said three classes of drugs were found in West’s system the next morning. No alcohol was found, but York said that was anticipated, given that more than 12 hours passed between the incident and when West surrendered and had his blood tested.
Four other people on West’s boat face misdemeanor charges of hindering the investigation that led police to West; the boat he was piloting fled the scene. Witnesses said West had been drinking at Log Bay Day.
“Log Bay Day has no redeeming value,” York said after West’s arrest, vowing to do what he can to prevent future Log Bay Day parties.
The annual party, in a small, shallow cove near the Washington County shoreline in Fort Ann, isn’t approved by any government but has grown year after year through word-of-mouth and social media. It now attracts hundreds of mostly young participants.
Wick said plans are being developed to discourage or prevent the party, which has occurred on the last Monday in July for about 20 years.
“It’s not going to be tolerated anymore,” he said Friday. “We can’t have 800 people and 250, 300 boats in that confined an area. . . . It’s always been passive enforcement in the past.”
For years, law enforcement has had to respond to injuries and fights at the event, Wick noted.
The Park Commission has eight law enforcement boats. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office has two boats, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation and state police have marine patrols on the lake at least some of the time. Washington County has land patrols that this year made several DWI arrests after the event, as participants drove away.
“It’s our intent to work with all agencies to make it a thing of the past,” Wick said. “We will get the word out next year that Log Bay Day will not to be tolerated.”
He wouldn’t go into detail about enforcement plans, citing a concern that partygoers will look for ways around such efforts, but he said social media and other avenues will be used next summer to spread the word that the event is prohibited.
Geraghty said there haven’t been any discussions within the board of supervisors about giving the sheriff’s office more lake patrol resources.
“The issue is it’s a state lake, and the state has jurisdiction, so we’re trying to work with the Park Commission,” he said.
In addition to drinking and dangerous behavior, Geraghty said Log Bay Day created issues with garbage being thrown in the bay and human waste.
“There’s several factors, but the accident this year really shined a light on it,” Geraghty said.
Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, firstname.lastname@example.org or @gazettesteve on Twitter.