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Our Mission

  • To search out and be aware of any threats that can affect the status of the current permit system on the NYS owned buffer lands surrounding the Great Sacandaga Lake through our full time lobbyist. 
  • To ensure that the rights of all the lake community and caretakers of this land are upheld for the benefit of everyone who enjoys the lake. 
  • To retain the Permit System which has served the lake community so well since 1931 and work for a permanent solution that protects the ecology of the lake in order to provide an environment which allows the lake community to prosper. 
  • To determine the legal rights of the lake community with the assistance of the Hodgson-Russ law firm. 
  • To raise and maintain a sufficient financial war chest to protect and defend the rights of the lake community against actions that will adversely affect the permit system. To provide prompt and effective communications on major issues that are affecting the Lake and the Lake Community.
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SPC Officers, Board

Joe Sullivan, President

Joe is a life-long area resident and had resided on the lake with his family for 28 years. He and his wife Deb have been active in many community organizations and they raised their three children in Mayfield.  

Joe served for 11 years on the Board of Directors of the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce and is a former chairperson of that board. He is also past chairman of the Chamber’s not for profit corporation, the Chamber Foundation. He also has volunteered on other community boards and projects and was a representative on the Great Sacandaga Lake Rules Advisory Committee.  

Joe is a graduate of Alfred University and has executive experience with the local telephone company as Vice President of East Coast Operations for Citizens Telecom, and was a partner in Telecon Communications, a locally based long distance and internet service provider, and has worked with several businesses in Fulton and Montgomery Counties.  

Joe and Deb are licensed Real Estate agents working with CMK & Associates Real Estate.

 

Louis Stutzke, Vice-President

 

Dick Smith, Consultant

Dick has had a cottage on the lake for 44 years and his family, for five generations, has lived in the Northville area, and his wife, Carol, moved to Northville in the second grade. They have one son, Randy.

Dick has an engineering degree from Syracuse University and was employed by IBM Corp. in Endicott as a project engineer until he became the owner and publisher of a newspaper and publishing business in Lewis County.

Dick served on the Board of Directors and as chairman of the Development Authority of the North Country, a public benefit corporation created by NYS to provide water, sewer, landfill and telecommunications infrastructure, economic development and housing in a three county area. He also served on the Board of Directors and as chairman of the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency, Lewis County General Hospital and Northern New York Community Foundation where he was also chairman of the Finance and Investment Committee. He also was a member of the Board of Directors of the New York Press Association and the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District from 1996 to 1999 and served on the Great Sacandaga Lake Rules Advisory Committee.

 

Travis Mitchell

Travis lives on the lake in the Town of Broadalbin with his wife and two young children.  Travis's family has been on the lake since it was created.  

Travis is a Civil Engineer with a consulting firm in Clifton Park that primarily focuses on residential and commercial land development in the area. In that capacity Travis is involved in various aspects of permitting with the APA and DEC related to land use and development.

 

Brad Brownell

Brad is a lifetime resident of the Sacandaga Valley, having previously lived in the Town of Day and now a resident on the North Shore Road in the Town of Edinburg. Five generations of his family have resided in the Sacandaga Valley since about 1820. Brad and his wife Pat have three children, Kurt, Bridget and Keith.

He is a member and past chairman of the Great Sacandaga Lake Association and served on the Batchellerville Bridge Advisory Committee. He was also a member of the Edinburg Volunteer Fire Company and is now an honorary member of that organization.

 

Doug Sterling

Doug has been a resident of Edinburg for 22 years and was the representative from the Town of Hadley on the Great Sacandaga Lake Rules Advisory Committee and has been assisting with the formation of a database for people interested in the lake.

He has been a great help in disseminating information about what is happening around the lake as editor of The Edinburg Newsletter.

 

Ted Mirczak

Ted Mirczak was born in Syracuse, NY, and lived for many years in the Troy, NY area before retiring in 2001 to the Great Sacandaga Lake in the Town of Day.  Ted graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with a degree in Engineering, received an MBA from Pace University in Westchester, and completed the Construction Executive Program at Texas A&M.  His working career first spanned 20 years with New York Telephone and then another 10 back at his alma mater, RPI. In both instances he headed up organizations responsible for the planning, design, construction and maintenance of the physical facilities of the company and the campus.

Having had a summer home for 26 years, and now having a permanent residence, on the Great Sacandaga Lake, he is dedicated to maintaining the character and quality of life afforded by the woods and waters of the Adirondacks.  In January of 2003, Ted was appointed as a member of the Town of  Day Planning Board, and in December of 2013 he took over as Chair, and serves today in that capacity.  He chaired two committees for the Town of day that expended considerable effort over several years in redrafting the Town’s Comprehensive Plan  and updating all of the Town’s local land use laws. He looks forward to continuing service to the Town of Day, to the SPC, and to the pleasures and benefits of living in such a beautiful part of Saratoga County.

 

Gilbert VanGuilder

Gil and his family have been summertime residents on the Lake (Town of Day) for 25 years. They live in Galway for the remainder of the year, spending a lot of weekends at the Lake. He is a self-employed Land Surveyor, with an office in Clifton Park.

Gil has been interested in Permit System since owning property on the Lake. But with all of the recent issues, the concern that permit holders rights and the way they interact with the Lake had the potential of undergoing a huge change. By joining the Board of Directors, he saw it as way to help support the other concerned permit holders.

 

Don Wicksel

 

Alan Sofen

Alan has had a house on the Great Sacandaga Lake for the past 21 years. He and his wife Monique have been full time residents for almost 5 years now after making the move from Rockland County. They have two grown children, William and Jessica. Alan is a volunteer member of several local organizations within the lake community and is looking forward to helping on the board of the SPC. He is passionate about protecting our beautiful area and preserving the way of life he and his family have known for over the past two decades.

 

Bob Jones

Raised in Rotterdam graduated from Siena College with an accounting degree. Has spent his working life in accounting & finance first with a CPA firm, then cable television for 20 years and the last 12 with a real estate developer in Latham. Bob spent every summer weekend growing up at Sacandaga, learning to swim, fish & ski. His family has had a camp in Day for over 50 years. Bob & his wife Nancy moved back to the area in 2003 and purchased a family camp in 2005. In 2013 that structure was replaced with their dream home. Bob & Nancy now reside on the South Shore of Day year round and LOVE every minute of it. Bob feels that the lake & its permit system have worked for 85 years , why change it now. Bob joined the SPC board to help them continue their good work, and to increase awareness of the importance of the SPC's activities to the lake community.

 

Nancy Jones

Nancy is a Clifton Park native with an accounting degree from Siena College.  Her accounting career has spanned over 25 years and is comprised of positions in for profit, governmental and non-profit accounting. She met her husband Bob at her first job in 1989 and they married in 1992.  Bob spent his summers growing up on Sacandaga Lake.  He and his family have been summer residents of the lake for more than 50 years.  Nancy and Bob purchased one of the family properties in 2005.  In 2013 they built a new home in preparation for retirement.  They now reside in the Town of Day enjoying all the lake has to offer.  They love the lake and want their permit area to remain unchanged.  She joined the SPC board to help bring more awareness about existing issues and assist the board in continuing to do the good work they do for the benefit of all permit holders.

 

Robert L. Smith

Bob’s family has resided in the Sacandaga Valley, GSL, for several generations.  His current home is the old family camp in Birchwood.  This is where he and Beth love to host family, extended family and friends.  After graduating from Hartwick College, Bob started teaching Biology, then served as an assistant principal, principal and Superintendent of Schools for the last 21 years of his education career.

In retirement, Bob has been active as the Town of Northampton Planning Board Chairperson, Community Preparedness Association Chairperson, and officer of the Northville Rotary Club.

Bob also enjoys flying, as he is a private pilot and is an occasional scuba diver.

 

Christina Peters

Christina Peters was a young girl in her parents' Northville house (a 2nd home), learning to ski at nearby Gore Mountain & Lake Placid.  She traveled the world since her parents left the East, at age 12.  Though, fortunately they did not sell the house.  She returned to the area part-time 14 years ago and full time 5 years ago.  She has a degree in Communications from the University of Wisconsin - Madison, with a year's study in Paris, France.  She has worked for Four Season Hotels & Bisazza Italian Tile in sales & marketing, along with numerous writing jobs in Los Angeles, California.  She resides with her longtime boyfriend, Adirondack Bob, in the house her parents purchased for her to ski & enjoy the grand outdoors all those years prior.  She enjoys her quaint & friendly village, activities in the nature of the area, & the Great Sacandaga Lake.  

 

Lisa Smith

Lisa grew up in a small town in Northern Westchester county, but always loved visiting her grandparents and other relatives in the Adirondacks and swimming in all of the lakes. She graduated from SUNY Albany with a Communications degree and went to work for Reader's Digest for 18 years before starting a construction business with her husband Joe. With their business growing and life becoming more and more hectic, they decided they needed a place to get away and relax, and to spend quality time with their two children. They purchased a seasonal home on the lake and after 15 years, they decided to move here permanently. She and her husband started the Adirondack Floating Dock Shop, and have become involved in the community, with Lisa joining the SPC and her husband and two children joining the Edinburg Volunteer Fire Company. They are all very much enjoying "the lake life."

Lisa always knew that she loved the lake.  Now more than ever she realizes that her past and present decisions all hinge on the success and well being of the Great Sacandaga Lake community.  She has decided to dedicate her time and effort to keeping it "great" for her family and future generations.  Lisa is heavily involved in the communications and promotion efforts of the Sacandaga Protection Committee.

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Fundraising

The SPC is a non-profit organization that is maintained and run by a dedicated Board that is totally voluntary in nature. There are no paid employees or administrators in the SPC organization. As such, the funding for the organization comes from four major sources:

First and foremost are voluntary contributions from permit holders, businesses, community leaders, lake users, property taxpayers, and residents that live near the lake and are committed to protect the environmental, economic and legal interests of the entire lake community.

Contributions can be mailed to: Sacandaga Protection Committee, P.O. Box 86, Mayfield, NY 12117

Click Here for a contribution form that you can download and print.

For your convenience we are also accepting donations through PayPal here. Please note that you do not need to have a PayPal account to donate online; simply select "Don't have a PayPal Account" on following page and you will be able to enter your credit card information.

In addition to generous donations, we conduct three major fundraising activities each year - a summer event with food, drink and a silent auction, a raffle with a $10,000 first prize and limited tickets, and a fall "Redneck" cocktail party, again with food and drink and a live auction.

Expect to see our volunteer SPC board members knocking on your door, along with family, friends and supporters - old and new - to solicit your donations and participation in the three annual fundraisers . We need more volunteers who Love the Sacandaga and are willing to donate time and support to preserve the way of life we all know and thrive on. Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in volunteering.

As of end of 2016, we've raised over $630,000 to fight for the rights of the permit holders and our entire community. Our Financial Statements are posted here as they are available.

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From the Lawyers

Below are the views of our legal team at Hodgson Russ LLP.

 

The land around the lake is not “forest preserve” as suggested by the DEC.

The DEC claims that the land surrounding Great Sacandaga Lake is “forest preserve” that should either be kept wild or that lands abutting privately held property should be open access for public gatherings of any kind. These two extremes do not reflect historical or present day realities.

When Great Sacandaga Lake was created in the 1920s, the area was not wilderness or forest preserve. It was comprised of farm land, factories, communities, a thriving railroad, and even an amusement park. The fact that this area was not wilderness or forest preserve can be seen in the relocation of 12,000 homes and the transfer of nearly 4,000 bodies from 22 local cemeteries.

The history of New York State’s action passing legislation for the reservoir and acquiring land bolsters the fact that this is not forest preserve. The State touted the creation of a pristine body of water that would be lined by sandy beaches: a prime spot for recreational access.

In fact, the State has not designated this land as “forest preserve.” The Adirondack Park Agency has not classified the land under the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan or in the related official maps.

Even if the land around the lake were forest preserve, this does not support the proposed permit system and lake access changes. Forest preserve is not a one-size-fits-all designation. Even a simple review of the DEC’s website shows that forest preserve uses differ greatly depending on the specific sub-classification. The HRBRRD and the State should be transparent about exactly what classification they are seeking to impose on lands surrounding the lake. And they should not seek to create wilderness where none exists. We can have our lake and enjoy it too. We can do so in a way that will not destroy property values, our local property tax base, and disrupt the balance of private and public use that we currently enjoy.

 

Re: The DEC's proposed permit system rules: The proposed rules should not be implemented.

HRBRRD proposed rules regarding changes to the current permit system. It followed the State Administrative Procedure Act and published the rules for comment. After input from the DEC and elected officials, the proposed rule-making was allowed to expire. Any attempt to impose the proposed rules now would require a new rule-making complying with the State Administrative Procedure Act’s review and comment period. This process has not been commenced again. Not yet.

Despite allowing the proposed rules to expire, HRBRRD has recently shown that it will seek to implement the policy changes without the new rules. We have already seen changes in signage and permit applications. Without following the administrative procedures that are required by state law, these actions are illegal.

We must be vigilant of changes that HRBRRD would implement without legally adopting new rules. And we must be constantly wary that the HRBRRD will once again return to legal channels in an effort to impose new permit system rules that are incompatible with decades of use and enjoyment of Great Sacandaga Lake by lake residences, tourists, and the local businesses that these groups support.

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SPC Attorney Selection Process

The Sacandaga Protection Committee was formed to provide legal representation to the lake community as a result of the DEC’s draconian revisions to the HRBRRD’s proposed rules which were accepted by the District without discussion or modification.     

A legal search committee was formed from volunteers comprised of three attorneys, an engineer, a telecommunications company business owner, a retired NYS Public Service Commission utility analyst, and a retired civil engineer from the NYS Canal Corporation to interview law firms and attorneys and then make a recommendation to the entire Sacandaga Protection Committee.  After an initial screening process, seven law firms with specific experience in environmental law, land planning and development and complex litigation including litigation against the State were interviewed. 

As a result of that process the SPC retained Hodgson Russ LLP.  Headquarted in Buffalo, with offices throughout the State including Albany and Saratoga, Hodgson Russ is one of the oldest law firms in the United States. Former Hodgson Russ attorneys include Presidents Millard Fillmore and Grover Cleveland.  It is one of the 200 largest law firms in the United States with over 200 attorneys providing service to clients in virtually all major areas of U.S. law.  The firm has substantial experience in representing individual property rights before state and federal agencies in all administrative and judicial forums.  The firm also is experienced in working with agencies and the state legislature in support of regulations and legislation supporting interests of their clients.  

The SPC team at Hodgson Russ is headed by Partner Daniel Spitzer.  Formerly a finance director for a sizeable city in Arizona, Dan practices in the areas of municipal law, land use, renewable energy and related fields.  His litigation experience includes renewable energy projects, including the first NY appellate decision involving greenhouse gas emissions, solid waste facilities, tax assessment matters, land use issues, state and federal constitutional claims and other issues before administrative and judicial forums. He assists developers and communities in development projects including obtaining financial assistance and complying with historic preservation guidelines. He is well versed in the requirements of the State Environmental Quality Review Act and has guided many communities through the environmental review process. He also counsels clients on historic preservation issues, condemnation, creation of water and sewer districts and grant writing, among other matters.  He is a frequent author and speaker on these subjects.  He recently drafted the inaugural chapter on municipal annexation for the fourth edition of New York Zoning Law and Practice, published by West in 2009. He serves as the Chair of the Green Development Committee of the New York State Bar Association Municipal Law Committee.  

Dan is especially familiar with our area and the unique governing regulatory structure.  He served for six years on the Board of the Lake George Land Conservancy.  He has represented municipalities and individuals around Great Sacandaga Lake and across the Adirondack Park on a diverse range of matters including solid waste disposal, real property taxation, environmental compliance, APA site classification, mining and other land use issues.  He was actively involved in the recent effort to prevent a re-allocation of HRBRRD permit fees in a manner detrimental to SPC members.  Dan represents clients seeking approvals from the DEC and APA.  He frequently represents clients in disputes with the DEC.  Dan has a strong record supporting home rule in land use matters; he has, for example, successfully defended municipal denials of projects approved by the DEC all the way through the New York Court of Appeals.

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