Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Welcome to our FAQs page. Click on any of the questions below for answers to commonly asked questions.

We welcome your input on additional information that you believe would be useful to add to our FAQs. Please email your suggestions to info@copakelakecs.org.

BOATING and SWIMMING ON COPAKE LAKE

Are there restrictions on how and when I can use my boat, such as time of day and speed limits?

​​Yes, watercraft must not exceed 5 mph between 8 PM and 9 AM (Copake Town Ordinance). In addition, all watercraft must slow down to 5 mph when less than 100 feet from shore, dock or other vessel, or in ‘no wake’ zones (NYS Law).


For a more complete description on NYS Boating Safety Regulations, ​Click on this link.

What is a No Wake Zone?

​​A No Wake Zone is a designated area within a body of water in which the speed limit for any vessel cannot exceed 5 MPH. This includes anytime you are less than 100 feet from the shore, from a dock, or from any other vessel.

Who is required to hold a boating safety certificate and how do the new NYS boating regulations apply to operators of motorboats?

​New boating regulations adopted by New York State on May 1, 2014 require all individuals born on or after May 1, 1996 to successfully complete an approved Boating Safety Course in order to operate a motor boat. In addition, motor boat operators who are younger than 18 years of age must be accompanied by a person who is at least 18 years of age or older, and who is either the holder of a boating safety certificate, or not required by law to hold a certificate.

What is a Personal Watercraft?

​​A personal watercraft (PWC), also called a water scooter, is a recreational watercraft that the rider sits or stands on, rather than inside of, as in a boat. PWCs have an inboard engine driving a pump jet that has a screw-shaped impeller to create thrust for propulsion and steering. They are often referred by the trademarked brand names Jet Ski, Wave Runner, or Sea-Doo.

Is it true that ANYONE operating a personal watercraft (PWC) must have a boating safety certificate?

​​Yes, it is true. The minimum age for anyone who operates a personal watercraft is 14 years old, and people operating a personal watercraft must complete an approved course in boating safety. If someone younger than 14 operates a PWC, he or she must be accompanied, on board, by someone 18 years of age or older who is the holder of an approved boating safety certificate. Certificates are required to be carried at all times when operating the personal watercraft. For more details regarding this requirement, Visit

What are the laws regarding using Life Jackets (also know as Personal Flotation Devices or PFDs) while on a boat or personal watercraft?

​Every pleasure vessel including motor boats, canoes, kayaks, personal watercraft, paddle boards and rowboats operated upon the waters of NYS must have on board one U.S. Coast Guard approved wearable PFD for each person on the vessel. In addition:

  • ​Vessels 16 feet and greater in length must also carry a type IV throwable PFD.
  • ​PFD’s must be worn by each person on or towed behind a Personal Watercraft. Fully inflatable life jackets are not approved for water sports.
  • All PFD’s carried on board your vessel must be serviceable, readily accessible, and of the appropriate size for the wearer.

​​For more information on laws regarding PFD’s, ​Click on this link.

Are Children Required to Wear Lifejackets?

​​Any youth under the age of 12 on boats 65 feet or less in length must wear a securely fastened U.S. Coast Guard approved PFD of appropriate size at all times. It does not apply if the youth is in a fully enclosed cabin. 

Do I really need to wear a life vest if I am using a paddleboard?

​​Stand up paddlers are becoming a more and more common sight on Copake Lake. Paddleboards are considered to be “vessels” by the U.S. Coast Guard, which means that the following rules apply.

  • Each paddler 13 years of age or older must have a USCG-approved life jacket with them. It is not required to be worn, although we strongly recommend that you do.
  • ​A child 12-years old or younger must wear their USCG-approved life jacket.
Where can I find out what the water temperature is for swimming?

​Lake water temperature is always recorded in the shade, in about 2 feet of water at the Golf Course Road bridge. In that location on sunny days in June, July and much of August, the lake varies in temperature by about 5 degrees F every day. It is at its lowest at about 9 am and at its highest at about 5 pm. On cloudy days there is less change and on rainy days there may be no change or the temperature may even drop a little.  As September approaches, there is less daily temperature variation and the overall trend is downward.

​In more open water, there will be more temperature variation due to more exposure to the sun, so much so that many people think that they are swimming through colder springs near the bottom of the lake. This is not the case, however. Swimmers are simply encountering cooler water below the sun-warmed surface.

Click on this link
to find the current water temperature online.
Silhouette of boys swimming in McIvor Lake, Campbell River

​Scroll down to the bottom of the page, to the section called "Extra Sensors." The label for water temperature information is “Soil Temp 4.” The one above it, "Soil Temp 3," is the water temperature in about 8 feet of water. These two temperatures are a good indication of when the lake is about to freeze over and also when it is about to thaw. This is why we record this information.

Is CLCS responsible for policing the lake, and what should I do if I see reckless watercraft operation or vandalism?

​The CLCS is not an enforcement agency. Concerns about speed, noise or safe handling of any motorized watercraft on the lake should be directed to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department at 518-828-3344. It is helpful if you can give a license plate number and/or a description of the watercraft.

winter sports on copake lake

Are winter sports such as skating, ice fishing and snowmobiling permitted on Copake Lake?

​​Yes, winter sports including snowmobiling, skating, fishing, and cross-country skiing are permitted on Copake Lake. Please be aware that there is no official monitoring of ice thickness, therefore participation in winter activities on the lake is at your own risk. For more information visit our Winter Safety page​.

To view the NYS Department of Parks and Recreation Snowmobilers Guide​.

How can people judge whether the ice is thick enough to be out on the lake?

​​There is a common saying: Thick and blue, tried and true. White and crispy, way too risky. Please be aware that there is no official monitoring of ice thickness, therefore participation in winter activities on the lake is at your own risk. If you are not sure, stay off the ice!

This infographic, courtesy of Adirondack.net, demonstrates the minimum ice thickness required for various activities.

lake management

Where can I find out what the water temperature is for swimming?

​Lake water temperature is always recorded in the shade, in about 2 feet of water at the Golf Course Road bridge. In that location on sunny days in June, July and much of August, the lake varies in temperature by about 5 degrees F every day. It is at its lowest at about 9 am and at its highest at about 5 pm. On cloudy days there is less change and on rainy days there may be no change or the temperature may even drop a little.  As September approaches, there is less daily temperature variation and the overall trend is downward.

​In more open water, there will be more temperature variation due to more exposure to the sun, so much so that many people think that they are swimming through colder springs near the bottom of the lake. This is not the case, however. Swimmers are simply encountering cooler water below the sun-warmed surface.

Click on this link
to find the current water temperature online.
Silhouette of boys swimming in McIvor Lake, Campbell River

​Scroll down to the bottom of the page, to the section called "Extra Sensors." The label for water temperature information is “Soil Temp 4.” The one above it, "Soil Temp 3," is the water temperature in about 8 feet of water. These two temperatures are a good indication of when the lake is about to freeze over and also when it is about to thaw. This is why we record this information.

How is the lake level managed and how are the decisions regarding this made?

​​In order to protect the structures close to the shoreline from ice erosion and damage, we must draw down the lake level every winter. Because there is no way to refill the lake other than through rain and snowfall, we are totally dependent upon the amount of precipitation in any given year to maintain the lake level.

 

In the fall and winter, the lake drain valve is opened in order to lower the lake level, thus minimizing shoreline erosion due to ice movement during the spring thaw. Depending on weather conditions, the drain valve is closed in the late winter or early spring to refill the lake. If the lake and/or the ground are not frozen, and/or there is no snow on the ground, typically the drain valve is closed in January. If there's a foot or so of snow on the ground and the lake is frozen, closing the valve can wait until mid- to late-February, or even later. It has been closed as early as January and as late as April. In both of those extreme cases, the lake has been full again before the start of summer. The Lake Management Committee, based on prior experience and careful monitoring of weather conditions, makes decisions regarding when to open and close the valve.

 

For a more detailed explanation of Lake Level Management, click on the link.

What is The Valve? How does it work? Why do we have it?

​There are actually two valves on the dam, a new one and an old one. The new one was added in the early 2000s and is inside the 18½-inch diameter pipe that passes through the dam. The old one, which came with the original dam, is at the entrance to the pipe. The two valves are in series so that either one is all that is needed to control or stop the flow of water through the dam. That is the only thing that they actually do. Closing them creates an opportunity for precipitation or runoff to raise the lake, but does not necessarily raise the lake.  They are often called “drain valves” as opening them partly drains the lake.

During the cold weather, the new valve is locked open so that it will not freeze, which would severely damage it. It's not something we can repair, which means that it would have to be removed from its concrete encasement and sent back to its manufacturer for any repairs.

Little Known Fact: It takes 190 turns of its operating wheel to fully open or close the new valve. That's great exercise, but tedious, time consuming and if you don't keep count, you just don't know how open or closed the valve might be.

On the other hand, the old valve is not damaged by freezing, can be repaired locally by any carpenter, is easy to operate and how much it is open/closed is easy to determine visually. Unfortunately, it leaks a bit. Therefore we use the old valve mostly to control the rate of out-flow when down drawing the lake, and use the new valve to totally shut off out-flow in the warmer weather (keeping the lake level as high as possible).

From this point on, the two serial valves will be referred to simply as “the valve”.

The valve is used to change the lake level from its normal maximum value (i.e. full for the summer with water flowing out through the spillway), to its normal minimum value, (i.e. down drawn for the winter with water only flowing through the regulated valve). Both normal levels are only semi-stable, as fluctuating weather conditions can cause large changes to the amount of water going into and/or out of the lake at any given time. In the summer, the most significant change is caused by normal evaporation (about 1-inch of lake level is lost to evaporation each week in the summer), and that water loss which is exacerbated during times of drought. In the winter, the large changes are driven by rain falling on our frozen watershed, with little loss due to evaporation, causing the lake to rapidly rise. In simple terms, the lake has two normal semi-stable levels. Summer approximately full and winter, down drawn; depending on whether or not the valve is open or closed.

We usually open the valve just after Columbus Day to start to down draw the lake. With the valve fully open, it usually takes about a month or so for the lake to go down to its normal minimum level.

Everyone needs to fully understand that closing the valve at the end of the winter does not raise the lake level. Nearly all of the time, the lake level is going down due to evaporation notwithstanding how much the valve may be open or closed. Only rain and/or a melting/thawing watershed can raise the lake level.

Is Copake Lake a spring-fed lake?

The answer is YES and NO. That’s confusing. Here is why. There are two groups of people using the term “Spring-Fed Lake”: the general public and scientists/engineers. The actual details of their definitions are DIFFERENT.


To the average individual (think of a real estate agent writing a description of a lakefront property), there are only two types of lakes. They are stream-fed and spring-fed. Any lake fed by an obvious river, creek or stream is called stream-fed. All other lakes are called spring-fed. The critical question underlying those simple definitions is whether or not the lake has a large or small watershed.


In general, stream-fed lakes have large watersheds and are thus more likely to get unwanted runoff containing unwanted “pollution” from distant sources that have no interest or concern about the lake’s condition. In contrast, a small watershed lake has fewer possible sources of unwanted pollution and many people in the watershed may have an interest and/or concern about the lake’s condition as they may have some legal access to the lake. Also, the level in a stream-fed lake can be more dynamic than in a spring-fed lake due to the relative sizes of their watersheds. That is, it may flood more often. 


To a scientist or engineer, a spring-fed lake is one in which the bulk of the water actually comes up from the ground. This cannot be determined by just looking at the lake. To make an accurate determination, the lake level, rainfall, wind direction, wind speed, air temperature, relative humidity and lake water temperature need to be recorded for several years. These parameters, along with watershed characteristics, can then be used to mathematically determine whether there is a net loss or gain of lake water to or from the ground. But in general, most lakes gain and lose water from many sources during the course of any year.


While Copake Lake meets the simple definition of spring-fed lake, statistics kept over many years show that in actuality, it loses more water to the ground than it gains. In very simple terms, the level of Copake Lake is ALWAYS going down, unless it is raining or the watershed is melting/thawing. To an engineer/scientist, Copake Lake is a surface runoff lake.

 

Also, the warm “springs” that people feel while swimming in the lake are actually convection currents driven by solar heating.  There is a detailed article, with a video, about this on Wikipedia for those who would like to better understand this phenomenon.

Why does the lake not stay full all summer?

​As a reference point, the lake is deemed full any time there is water flowing out of the lake through the spillway. In the early 1900s, the lake was able to remain full most days of nearly every summer. It now is not always full every day of every summer. The main reason for all this is that the watershed, our primary source of water, has gone from nearly all fields to nearly all forest. Anywhere from 40% to 60% of rain falling on fields runs off into the lake. Only about 20% runs off our now forested watershed. We simply don’t get as much water as we used to. This change has happened during the lifetime of many of our current residents. There is realistically no way to change this. We simply have to adapt to the current conditions.

Why do we occasionally have to have a 14-Day Swimming Ban after weed treatments?

The herbicide known as Reward® has proven in recent years to be the most effective in controlling unwanted weeds which foul propellers and grow more problematic as the summer season wears on. New York State requires that we post a 14-day swimming ban on areas treated with this herbicide. 


Important Information to Consider in relation to the 14-Day Swimming Ban:

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) requires that we send a riparian notice (notification to residents and visitors of actions affecting our watershed) for planned weed and algae treatments of Copake Lake, and further requires that we post 14-day restrictions on lake use after treatment with the herbicide Reward®. However, the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and most other states (with the exception of New York) recommend a more limited restriction relating to the use of Reward®: "1- to 3-day restriction on drinking and irrigation; no swimming or fishing restrictions.” We hope that this information will help our members to make an informed decision about using the lake following a treatment.

Why do you wait so long to do the weed treatment? Can you do it earlier in the spring, so the swimming ban does not affect the beginning of the season?

​​The herbicide we typically use, called Sonar®, is a contact weed killer. This means that we cannot treat early in the spring because there is not enough weed growth for the herbicide to make contact with the weeds and have a meaningful effect in killing the aquatic plant growth. We have also found in our years of experience that when the treatment is applied too early in May there is significant weed growth by the end of August. By treating several weeks later, we are trying to maintain weed control later in the season and be more effective on controlling the weeds throughout the boating season.

The area around our shore is heavily affected by large algae blooms. Can you do anything about this?

​The filamentous algae in your area is a naturally occurring result of clear water and abundant sunlight. The algae grows on the bottom and as it produces oxygen can rise to the surface and form mats. It is a green algae and is not hazardous to health. Our recommendation to shoreline owners is to take action on their own and rake or skim the algae from their areas and dispose of on land. It is harmless, it just looks icky.

What is a Blue-Green Algae Bloom and Why is it Dangerous?

​A blue-green algae (Gloeotrichia) bloom is different from the common, green filamentous algae that we typically see in the lake late in the summer, and which we treat by applying a localized treatment with copper sulfate. In contrast, EXPOSURE TO BLUE-GREEN ALGAE BLOOMS CAN BE HARMFUL TO PEOPLE AND ANIMALS.

  • People and pets should avoid contact with water that looks like spilled paint or pea soup or bubbling scum.
  • Don't drink the water in or near the bloom- boiling water does not protect people or pets from blue-green algal toxins.
  • ​Don't eat fish caught from water that looks like spilled paint or pea soup.
  • Rinse with clean water if exposed. 

​For more information about health concerns go to www.health.ny.gov and search "blue-green algae"

The CLCS posts notices around the lake when Gloeotrichia blooms are present, and again when the coast is clear.

COPAKE LAKE WILDLIFE

Who should I contact if I see dead or injured wildlife in or around the lake?

​​The Wildlife Health Unit (WHU) at New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is the place to report dead wildlife. They are particularly interested in knowing about:

  • ​Any wildlife that died by questionable causes
  • Wildlife of special interest or marked/tagged specimens (e.g. endangered/threatened animals; research study animals)
  • ​Mass mortality or recurring mortality

​Of course, individual animals die of natural causes or due to accidents. Should you need to dispose of an animal carcass, keep in mind that it is important to protect both surface and groundwater from contamination. In addition, dead wildlife can be a health threat to people and other animals. We recommend that you read the guidelines on the WHU website carefully before handling or disposing of any dead wildlife. If you have any questions or concerns, call the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region Four at (518) 357-2234.

I am seeing lots of dead fish floating in the lake. What is going on?

​​Tens to hundreds of spawning fish dying in the spring is to be expected, especially if what you see is mostly pan fish and an assortment of other species like Bass, Perch, probably even a Bullhead, etc.  According to our limnologist George Knoecklein, “We have occasionally seen post spawning mortality—as it is called—affect many more than this. Factor in the winter the fish just came through, making them stressed by living in less than optimum conditions for a long time. They are probably deficient in a number of life functions, such as nutrients, dissolved oxygen, and pH changes; all making the fish more prone to having no energy reserves to make it through spawning, which is an extremely taxing effort.”

If you see anything in or around the lake that you think is unusual, please photograph it and send it to us, indicating where and when it was seen. Our email is: info@copakelakecs.org

LAKE PROPERTY AND WATERSHED MANAGEMENT

How do I help the watershed? What guidelines should I follow when doing landscaping and lawn care on my lakeshore property?

Shoreline Clean Up:

  • Maintain living trees and shrubs along the shoreline.
  • Don’t throw any organic material, incl. leaves, grass clippings, food or potting soil into lake.
  • Protect the emergent GOOD WEEDS at your shoreline. Learn to identify the difference between good and bad weeds.
  • We have published guidelines, with photographs, to help people learn how to identify good and bad weeds, available at this link.
  • Rake up floating weeds and algae along the shoreline and around your dock. Place floating debris in bags and dispose of it away from the lake.

​Lawn Maintenance:

  • Have a soil test done to know what your lawn needs.
  • Fertilize responsibly. If you must fertilize, remember it will eventually run-off into the lake, add nutrients to the lake and perpetuate the growth of weeds. Be sure to use low or no phosphorus fertilizer and/or fertilize less often. Current data from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) indicates that lakes with lower levels of Phosphorus have fewer algal blooms.
  • If you must water your fertilized lawn, water in small amounts, and during the day.
What is so special about trees? Why are we asked not to cut down trees and shrubs along the shoreline?
  • Trees along streams, wetlands, and lakes help control storm water runoff, keep water temperatures cool, remove soil sediment, reduce flood damage, and increase water quality.
  • Tree roots stabilize the soil, preventing erosion. One square mile of forest produces 50 tons of erosion sediment. In contrast, one square mile that is cleared for construction produces 25,000 to 50,000 tons of sediment per year.
  • Trees serve as acoustical barriers, absorbing the sounds of boats and other noises.
  • Trees produce food and habitat for the wildlife that so many love to observe around the lake.
What steps should be taken to prepare my lake property for winter?
  • Docks must be removed before the first freeze. Place them high above water level so they will be safe and secure. If left in the lake, docks can be destroyed by ice, which can pile up several feet high at the downwind end of the lake as it breaks up at the end of winter. Debris from broken docks and unsecured watercraft floats into the lake and creates a danger for boater and swimmer alike after the ice melts in the spring.
  • Pressure-treated wood introduces unwanted chemicals into lake and should not be used.
  • Remove hazardous waste materials from your property. Safely store or dispose of paint cans, gas tanks, and other hazardous materials. If not properly secured, these pollutants could spill onto the land and eventually work their way into the lake.
  • Properly dispose of leaves. Bag or compost the leaves from your yard. Do not rake them into the lake (where they will provide more nutrients for the weeds).
  • Best practice for draining pipes in your house: Do not use regular anti-freeze. Standard anti-freeze is hazardous to the lake, fish and plant life. Please purchase an environmentally friendly antifreeze. It’s worth the extra expense.
Under what circumstances do I need a permit to make improvements to my lakeshore property?

Below is a partial list of activities for which New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) permit is required:

  • Placement of sand or any other materials
  • Dredging or removal of any lake bottom material
  • Large dock construction
  • Construction of retaining walls along shoreline
  • Installation of bottom barrier materials
  • Any other encroachment in the lake

Please contact the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 4 at (518) 357-2234, before undertaking any alterations to your shoreline.

What projects are eligible for a CLCS Grant, and how does one apply?

​Grants are awarded to qualifying projects that support our mission statement. Copake Lake Conservation Society will provide financial assistance of 50% of the project cost, up to $5,000 for approved projects. The primary objective of these approved projects must clearly demonstrate support of the Copake Lake Conservation Society mission; i.e. to protect the quality of the Copake Lake watershed, preserve the ecological balance, and promote safe recreational use of the lake. The grant guidelines and application form may be accessed by clicking on the links below.

Download Grant Committee Guidelines

Download Grant Committee Application

What should I do if I see trash or debris floating in the lake?

​If you can safely use a boat hook or other implement to remove trash or debris from the lake, please do so in order to protect other boaters and swimmers. If you cannot safely remove the debris yourself, please inform us at info@copakelakecs.org so that we can alert other members of the lake community of any potential danger.

COMMUNICATIONS

How can I best communicate with CLCS with comments or questions?

Email us any time with questions or comments: info@copakelakecs.org. You will receive a prompt reply.

Can I submit an article or photos for the website or print newsletter?

Yes, we welcome articles and photos for inclusion in our newsletter or on our website. Please email to us at info@copakelakecs.org

There are so many great articles in the CLCS newsletters. Is there anywhere that I can obtain copies of previous editions?

Yes, you can. There are PDF copies of all our newsletters since Spring 2011 archived on our website. You can view or download.

How can I best communicate with CLCS with comments or questions?

Email us any time with questions or comments: info@copakelakecs.org. You will receive a prompt reply.

Can I submit an article or photos for the website or print newsletter?

Yes, we welcome articles and photos for inclusion in our newsletter or on our website. Please email to us at info@copakelakecs.org

There are so many great articles in the CLCS newsletters. Is there anywhere that I can obtain copies of previous editions?

Yes, you can. There are PDF copies of all our newsletters since Spring 2011 archived on our website. You can view or download.

I’ve Heard that our Newsletter has won Awards. From Whom?

​Each year the New York State Federation of Lake Associations (NYSFOLA) has a competition for lake association newsletters. Lakes are assigned into categories small, medium, and large. We are in the medium category, although we compete against lakes as large as Saratoga Lake. Here is how we have done to date:


2004---Best newsletter, CLCS president Dave Craw

2008---1st place, CLCS president Buddy Sinisi

2012---1st place, CLCS president Denise Chickery

2014---2nd place, CLCS president Denise Chickery

2015---3rd place, CLCS president Debra Ruggieri

2016---3rd place, CLCS president Debra Ruggieri

Where do I find the Facebook page for the Copake Lake Conservation Society? Do I need to join Facebook to be able to see it?

​Yes, you do need to be part of the Facebook community (i.e. logged in as a member of Facebook) in order to see our page. Once you are on Facebook, simply type “Copake Lake Conservation Society” into the main search box to find our page. Be sure to “Like” us when you are there, so that our updates show up in your timeline!

How are the Facebook and Instagram pages different from the website? Should I use one or the other for certain information?

​​Our website is the repository of detailed information, both current and archived, about the Copake Lake Conservation Society. On the website you will find the full calendar of all events for the year, detailed articles on lake management and other important topics, “About Us” information and links to join, volunteer, and sign-up for our email list. The website houses all the core information we have accumulated over the years and want to share with our members.

Facebook and Instagram, on the other hand, are social networks that are used by many organizations, including ours, to post short and timely bits of information, photographs and videos that can easily be shared among users. Facebook and Instagram users come to us expecting to “comment,” "like," and "share" our postings. It is also a perfect venue for sharing photographs of our lake and our community activities. People don’t go to social networks to read lengthy prose, and the things we share there are in a “timeline” format, continually moving down as they are replaced by other brief, current information. We believe that Facebook and Instagram are important tools when we are communicating any ”breaking” information, as well as a place to share images and short links that will take users to read longer newsletter and web articles. As such, they are critical component of building and maintaining a sense of community among our residents, both new and old.

I would like to post on the CLCS Facebook page, but my post is not showing up. Who decides what gets posted?

​​We moderate all comments that appear on the CLCS Facebook page to be sure that they are accurate, appropriate, not offensive, and make sense in the context of the mission of the Copake Lake Conservation Society, which it to protect the quality of the Copake Lake watershed, preserve the ecological balance, and promote safe recreational use of the lake. Once a post is deemed to be appropriate, we push it live. The CLCS reserves the right to decide what should be able to be posted on our organization’s page. Of course, anyone has the ability to comment on a post, as one can anywhere on Facebook. We ask our members to keep their comments positive, productive and supportive of our lake community.

ABOUT THE COPAKE LAKE CONSERVATION SOCIETY

What is the mission of CLCS?

​​The Copake Lake Conservation Society is a volunteer organization working to protect the quality of the Copake Lake watershed, preserve the ecological balance, and promote safe recreational use of the lake. 

How are the CLCS trustees chosen?

​​The CLCS is a member-supported organization that is managed by a volunteer Board of Trustees. Trustees are elected to hold office for a term of two years, and must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be committed to the mission and goals of CLCS
  • Be willing to participate in various tasks and programs undertaken by the Board of Trustees
  • ​Be paid up as a full member at the time of application
  • Sign a conflict of interest statement
How can I become a CLCS trustee?

​Any member who meets the qualifications may apply to the Board of Trustees for candidacy. The Board meets a minimum of three times annually, and meetings are open to all members. Trustees are elected at our Annual Meeting. We are always looking for interested, qualified CLCS members to join our Board of Trustees as volunteers. If you would like to apply, Click on this link to download an application.


​Your completed application can be scanned and emailed to us at info@copakelakecs.org or mailed to:
Copake Lake Conservation Society
PO Box 37
Craryville, New York 12521

What determines the general policies and practices of CLCS?

​​The general policies and practices of CLCS are established according to our Bylaws. Click on this link to view the CLCS BYLAWS.

What can I do to have some input into CLCS decisions?

Any questions or concerns can be emailed to us at info@copakelakecs.org.

Inquiries are forwarded to the appropriate officer or committee chair, and will be responded to as quickly as possible.

All CLCS meetings are open to all CLCS members. Members are welcome to attend any of the scheduled meetings and to participate in discussions. Members are highly encouraged to attend our Annual Meeting in July, where current lake related issues are presented and discussed.

Where does the money from your fundraisers go?

​Revenues are raised through our membership dues, various fundraising activities (Summer Bash, Labor Day Raffle, and merchandise sales), and donations. Funds are used for expenses related to lake management and treatments, communication expenses such as our newsletter, website, and email marketing, as well as for educational programs and grants.

BECOMING INVOLVED IN CLCS: Individuals & Businesses

How can I become a member of CLCS?

​Membership in CLCS is open to any contributing individual age 18 or older, or to any business that has made a minimum contribution of $100. Each paid membership entitles the individual or household to one vote at our annual meeting. Membership must be paid for the current year in order to vote at the Annual Meeting in July. You can become a member or renew your current membership, either online or by mail, by visiting the Membership page on our website.

How can I stay informed about what is going on in the Copake Lake Community?

​You can sign up to receive our email newsletters through our website by clicking on the “Join Our Mailing List” tab which is on every page in the upper right corner. If you do not already receive our print newsletter, please email us at info@copakelakecs.org and ask to be added to the mailing list.

How do I become a volunteer or serve on a CLCS Committee?

Volunteers play an integral part in the success of our organization. Please consider volunteering on one of our various committees. Committee membership is open to any CLCS member in good standing. To view a list of committees, visit our Committees page.


If you are interested in joining, email us at info@copakelakecs.org. Your inquiry will be forwarded to the appropriate committee chair.

As a business owner, what can I do to support CLCS?

​As a business owner, you can support CLCS in the following ways:

  • Become a business member (see question above on how to become a member)
  • Purchase an ad in our newsletter. To do so, contact Sharon Luchow at sharonkaplanluchow@gmail.com or 518-325-3067.
  • Make a donation of goods or services to one of our events, such as the Summer Bash, Labor Day Raffle, or Shoreline Clean-Up.

Please contact the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 4 at (518) 357-2234, before undertaking any alterations to your shoreline.

Can my business advertise in your newsletter or on your website?

​We very much appreciate the support of our local enterprise community! Businesses can advertise in both our award-winning newsletter and on our website.

>