A platform tent at Crescent Bay that was used by the Henry P. Leis family in 1939 The Tent Platform Association was formed in 1971 to oppose the termination of the  platform tent permits that had been state policy since the early 1900s.


Adirondack Daily Enterprise, September 17, 1971

Cantwell Urges Platform Group To Stress Value of State Camps

By BILL MCLAUGHLIN

Citing the Meacham Lake tent platform battle of 1966 as "what not to do" Attorney Thomas Cantwell of Saranac urged 100 camp permit holders to stress to the state the value of having the tent platforms on public land and to seek accord with the Conservation Department rather than conflict.

Attorney Cantwell spoke at Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club last night at the request of the newly formed tent platform Association. Mr. Cantwell is one of the 600 having such a permit himself and was eminently qualified to give sound advice on the subject.

Meacham Lake campers in 1966 sought an injunction against the conservation department to forestall its plan to eradicate the tent platforms on the popular lake near Malone. The move failed and a trailer park now exists on state land where the platforms were once located.

The group last night were advised to suggest and list all the positive and constructive features of having the tent platforms and to approach the commissioner and the Park Agency with a non-belligerent attitude about preserving the privileges enjoyed since the early 1900's.

Donald Dupree the newly elected president of the Tent Platform Association said that if the matter were handled with tact and common sense the tent platform concept might even be legally expanded rather than jettisoned entirely.

"The obvious abuses," said Cantwell, "include failure to comply with the strict blueprint supplied by the state when platform is built. These include specifications on docks, latrines, platform sizes, sidewall heights, porches, window sizes, garbage pits, fireplaces. Other features are usually added by the camper but not advocated by the state.

The Saranac Lake attorney felt that much was to be said on the positive side. The fact that the permit holders are unofficial fire wardens and emergency fire fighters, first aid dispensers, protectors of the forest lands, and its wildlife, willing and ready volunteers in search operations and drownings, watchdogs of the public lands where transient abuses are likely to occur, sanitation and garbage inspectors, and in countless other less obvious ways.

These facts never seem to be considered by the state unless an actual emergency arises he said and then the services rendered by the camper is quickly forgotten.

We must show the conservation department, its commissioner and the Adirondack Park Agency that no damage results to state land from the presence of the platform camps and that they are not esthetically unattractive if properly maintained according to the state's own code. The situation in several National Parks in the west was discussed where thousands of transient campers dump garbage over large tracts of park land and the rangers are reduced to the task of collecting refuse and policing the territory rather than acting in the capacity for which they were trained.

A spokesman said that every camper on an Adirondack lake would be willing to join in an annual cleanup campaign for his lake and to haul unsightly items and refuse to a central point to be picked up and taken to the dump.

Adirondack Lakes which harbor platform camps include besides Lower Lake with its 400 or more, Long Pond, Hoel Pond, Pollywog Pond, Littte Green Pond, Follensbee Pond, St. Regis Pond, Moose Pond, Barnum Pond, Mountain Pond, Slush Pond, Meacham Lake, Round Lake, Connery Pond, Floodwood Pond Little Ampersand Pond, Fish Creek, East Pine Pond. Ray Brook and the Saranac and Raquette River.

The Tent Platform Association was officially organized last night and officers elected to handle the campaign to preserve platform campsite privileges.

Donald Dupree was elected president, Dr. Donald Richter, Vice president; Mrs. Adelaide Coyne, Secretary and Vic Schwartz treasurer.

Several committees were appointed to facilitate membership registration bylaws, publicity and legal aspects.

A meeting has been set for Saturday evening October 9th at 8 p. m. at the Saranac Lake Fish and Game Club when it is hoped several out of town platform holders will be in the vicinity during fee weekend.

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