Island needs your help. On July 30, 2003 the State of
New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Office
of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation held what
is known as a Unit Management Hearing (UMP) at Clinton County
Community College's Stafford Building in Plattsburgh, New York.
This meeting, the first in a series, was
planned to solicit input from concerned citizens (particularly
New Yorkers) about the management of several New York State
Islands in Lake Champlain.
Click the image above to
view the Official DEC Hearing Notice with specifics about the
Historic Lakes has created a special Crab Island Update Page.
We will post updated information as we learn about it in order
to keep you 'in the know' about this historic place.
here to learn the latest
information about Crab Island.
is crucial that the public insist that historic Crab Island,
and those interred there, be afforded the respect and dignity
long overdue them. We are
asking that concerned citizens write or call NYS officials expressing
that Crab Island should be cared for properly.
Do these images fit your picture of what a military cemetery
should look like? At least 150 men were buried together in long
trenches on the island. It is possible there could be many more
graves. Could this be the site? The answer has yet to be determined.
too long, since the 1980's when another group of dedicated individuals
saw to it the island was purchased by the State, this special
place has been the victim of a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between these two State agencies.
The result has been been severe neglect and deterioration of
the small 40-acre island and the two monuments on its soil.
The only attention Crab Island received came from private individuals.
The photo above shows the
monument when new, shortly after completion in 1908. There were 4 bronze
plaques mounted, one on each face. These plaques no longer educate
visitors as to the reason this monument stands (right). Nothing on the
island refers to the war dead interred there.
The Crab Island Monument,
More images of the damage to the historic
monument on Crab Island. Left to right- Headless eagles, water damage to
the base, gaping holes in between the sections (this damage continues
right up the obelisk), four missing bronze plaques, the iron fence (the
gate was restored to its place by Roger Harwood), is rusting badly and in
need of sandblasting and repainting.
Please understand that
we realize these are difficult economic times. We acknowledge the reality
and impact of budget cuts on State Government spending. It is our
belief that it would not cost much to see to it that Crab Island is
properly cared for. It is only a short distance from the New York shore
(just outside of the City of Plattsburgh)- this is NOT an inaccessible,
isolated place. The State of New York already provides for the maintenance
and care of Valcour Island (and, we might add, a large number of other
islands in the NYS Park System).
We are not asking
significant amounts of money be spent on Crab Island. We are asking that
the State maintain its property and shoulder the small burden of proper
stewardship it took on when it purchased the island.
We need your help to make things right...
yourself with the plight of this historic place. We believe that
once you know the story of Crab Island and all that happened there you
will want to help. There is much information
within the pages of America's Historic Lakes regarding the island and the
Battle of Plattsburgh. You can go directly to 'Secrets of Crab Island' by
clicking the links near the bottom of this page. For additional information we recommend you go
to the AHL Table of Contents page located
You might also want to read Dr. James Mann's account of what
conditions were like on the island- you can find that account referenced
here. Another excellent source of information is James Bailey's 'Forgotten
Graves of Crab Island'. You can read the work in its entirety
These officials will
pay particular attention to New York State residents. However, our
heritage belongs to ALL of us. These are American, Canadian, and British
boys buried here. They came from many places, not just New York State. Do
not hesitate to lend your voice to this debate just because you are not a
New York State resident!
Here's what you can
do. Any of these things can make a difference:
hearings as they are announced by NYS officials. The July 30th Meeting was
the first of several important meetings to come. Tell the DEC and OPRHP officials there you want Crab Island properly maintained by the
State of New York.
Write DEC officials
expressing your views regarding the need for better maintenance and
interpretation of Crab Island. The official DEC/OPRHP press release (shown
above) provides this contact information for providing input:
Mr. Daniel Levy
New York State DEC
P.O. Box 296
Ray Brook, NY 12977
Mr. Kevin Kieff
Director OPRHP Thousand Islands Region
P.O. Box 247
Alexandria Bay, NY 13607
(It is our understanding that written remarks might prove particularly
NYS officials have much on
their agenda and are understaffed, under funded and overworked. That said,
respond to political pressure. Contact your elected representatives and
insist they take a stand on this important issue. You may need to
enlighten them about this matter. Do not hesitate to point them to this
website for further information.
Contact information for New York State's Congressional Representatives:
Representative in the House by using this site:
Contact New York Governor
To Write To The Governor:
Governor George E. Pataki
Albany, NY 12224
To Email The Governor:
Click here to email the Governor.
PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR MAILING ADDRESS.
Responses may be sent via the U.S. Mail.
Call, write or email
New York State officials expressing your concerns about Crab Island. State
that you expect the Island to be properly maintained and that problems on
the Island be corrected immediately. Contact information is provided
within the UMP letter provided above. If you believe the Gravesite should
be located, properly identified and cared for, tell them so.
Thank you for taking
the time to read this material, and for your concern and action on behalf
of Crab Island and those whose final resting place the island became.
America's Historic Lakes
South Hero, Vermont
The Secrets of Crab
by James P. Millard
-Table of Contents-