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Crab Island was the scene of unspeakable suffering by American, Canadian, and British soldiers and sailors who fought at the Battle of Plattsburgh, September 11, 1814. The officers were buried with honors on shore, flags decorate their graves each year. The enlisted men were buried together in an unmarked, mass grave on this island. Their gravesite remains unidentified and neglected to this day somewhere beneath the thick, poison ivy-infested undergrowth.

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Crab Island Update Page

 

Thank you for visiting America's Historic Lakes' Crab Island Update Page. We hope this page will serve to keep you informed of news and activities regarding historic Crab Island. You can help- please send us tips, suggestions and news. Working together we can make certain that Crab Island, and the brave men buried there, finally get the care and attention they deserve.

 

On July 30th 2002, the New York State DEC and OPRHP held their initial hearing on the new Unit Management Plan (UMP) regarding the 8 Lake Champlain Islands owned by the state. The hearing, in this writers opinion, was a success and a excellent start along the road to making a difference for Crab Island.

While I personally was somewhat disappointed that attendance wasn't higher, the crowd did fill up probably 3/4 of the auditorium at Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh. I was pleased when one DEC official told me that per capita, this was the most successful UMP hearing he had attended by way of number of comments/remarks by the public. He also commented at how impressed he was with the passion expressed by the public in their comments.

To their credit, state officials were there in abundance.  I don't have all their names and titles but I did have the opportunity to speak with Kevin Kieff, Regional Director of OPRHP's Thousand Islands Region (which has jurisdiction over Crab Island because it lies outside the Adirondack Park). Stuart Buchanan, NY DEC's Regional Director of Region 5, was there, as was Charles Vandrei, NY DEC's historic preservation officer. The meeting was set up to allow for plenty of interaction with the state officials before and after the session, an opportunity that seemed to be well-used.

Not surprisingly, Crab and Valcour Islands were the main focus of public comment. Those who spoke about Valcour addressed issues such as boat mooring, campsite issues and 'loving the island to death'. I'm happy to say that many comments were made regarding Crab Island, including (of course) passionate remarks by this writer. Roger Harwood spoke as only he can about the island, John Rock, who has worked so hard to get the flagpole back in place, addressed the crowd, as did CCHA Director John Krueger. Addie Shields, Clinton County Historian; one of the most loved and respected local historians in the area, spoke on the historical significance of our region and the sanctity of war graves. One of the highlights of the evening was when Vietnam Veteran Jim Dooley (seriously wounded in that conflict and an American hero in his own right) stood up to share his views about leaving those who died for their country in an unmarked, mass grave. Despite the fact that Mr. Dooley spoke softly, enough heard and were touched by his words to have been moved to sustained applause.

The state officials explained the UMP process in a series of PowerPoint presentations. Mr.Vandrei and Daniel Levy presented an overview of the islands; with short histories. There were exhibits and displays set up; including photos, maps, and one of the plaques recently released for display at the Clinton County Historical Association Museum.

I'm optimistic folks. We can keep our fingers crossed but that won't do it. We need to continue to work together. Please consider sending your written remarks to DEC and OPRHP officials. In my opinion, nothing would help like having a prominent politician on board. If you know one of the key NYS members of Congress, even if you don't know one of the key NYS members of Congress, please help enlighten them about the plight of Crab Island. They are the key to releasing funds and making things move along in a timely fashion.

You can accomplish a lot. Your views matter, and NYS officials have assured us that your written remarks hold weight and are considered. Refer to our Crab Island Action Page for contact information-
http://www.historiclakes.org/crab/crab_special.htm .

Thank you for reading, thank you for caring, and thank you for your support of Crab Island and America's Historic Lakes.

        Jim Millard

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