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by Ron Kolodziej - February, 1996

Because most of us are actually younger than Great Sacandaga Lake
we tend to take this interesting body of water for granted, but when it
was created it was truly one of the engineering marvels of its day. As
early as the mid-1800's the idea of building dams was proposed to
control annual flooding problems within the Hudson River watershed.
These ideas were generally dismissed as being technologically
unfeasible at the time but by the late 1800's it became an engineering
possibility and a dam at Conklingville was proposed. This site was
picked because it was one of the deepest and narrowest spots in the
Sacandaga Valley and the Sacandaga River, being the upper
Hudson River's main tributaries, was the worst "offender" in pouring
unwanted excesses of water into the Hudson. Mapping for the dam
and lake commenced in 1922 and by the late 1920's contracts had
already been granted for the necessary work and the construction of
this grand impoundment began. On March 27, 1930 the gates of the
new Conklingville Dam were closed and flooding of 27 miles of the
beautiful Sacandaga Valley commenced. The dam and resultant lake
were the engineering wonders of their day but because the work was
performed some 66 years ago we tend to give little thought to the
effort it took to create this huge body of water. Here are some facts
you may find interesting. Some 1,200 homes were moved or leveled
to make room for the lake; 3,900 graves in 24 cemeteries were also
relocated; 50 miles of roads and 10 new bridges were built to replace
those that were lost to the rising waters; the new reservoir inundated
parts of the following communities - Conklingville, Batchellerville,
Northampton, Mayfield, Cranberry Creek, Benedict, Edinburg,
Sacandaga Park, Hope Valley and Northville and all of the following:
Munsonville, Osborne Bridge, Day, and West Day. The lake is 29
miles long, approximately five miles wide at its widest point and
covers some 43 square miles. It boasts 125 miles of shoreline, has a
capacity of over 283 billion gallons of water and has a maximum
depth of approximately 75 feet. The earthen dam at Conklingville is
1,200 feet long and 110 feet high and the entire project including
creation of the dam and lake cost only around $1,500,000. The lake
currently holds good populations of the following fish species:
northern pike, walleyed pike, smallmouth bass, rainbow trout, brown
trout, rock bass, sunfish, yellow perch, carp, suckers and various
minnows. Largemouth bass, pickerel, bullheads, tiger muskies and
even catfish are also occasionally though infrequently caught. It
offers a number of private marinas and launch sites, two
state-operated launch ramps (soon to be three), one state-operated
campsite and several area private campgrounds. The next time you're
on the lake give some of the above facts a thought or two and
remember that this beautiful body of water was built in just a few
short years but inundated 27 miles of the beautiful Sacandaga
Valley.(Note: Reprinted by permission of the author, Ron Kolodziej,
Outdoor Sports editor for the Amsterdam Recorder, Amsterdam, New