FULTON, NY – On Sunday, a group of local Oswego paddlers along with visiting paddlers were exploring the historic Battle Island area of the Oswego River.
Passing by the south end of the island, opposite Battle Island Golf Course, some type of manmade items could be seen from the kayaks on the island.
Two of the paddlers went to investigate; they stopped and went ashore at a section of Battle Island that is sometimes used for picnicking and camping (unofficially).
What they found was an abandoned encampment where a ruined tent/clothing, spoiled food and human waste were left.
They said that the area reeked with foul odor.
“This is an area of historical significance and beauty,” one of the group said.
Some of the group returned to the area Monday to attempt to clean up the site.
It took them three canoe loads full to take out the trash, they said, adding that the stench of the human feces made people ill.
The historic Battle Island area of the Oswego River is steeped in local history.
The famous ambush by the French and Indians to Lt. Colonel Bradstreet and his convoy of bateaux happened here.
In possible competition with Kingsford, there was a starch factory operating in this area, during the mid 1800s.
Several dams existed at different times with their remnants still to be found.
A guard lock with its fine stonework, from the original Oswego Canal, is located nearby.
At the makeshift camp, the group discovered a dilapidated tent, chairs, open food, several cases of empty beer cans and other camping items had been left to the elements.
Live trees had been cut down, nails hammered in trees and burned logs tossed about.
A putrid odor led to an uncovered privy area with human feces exposed.
With limited time and unprepared for this situation, it was decided that some of the group would return on Monday to clean up the area.
A quick foray collected and put much of the items in piles.
“It was embarrassing for the local paddlers to have the guest paddlers see any of this trash in comparison to the surrounding beauty and history of the area,” one of the group said.
Returning on Monday, six large trash bags were filled with the camping remains along with chairs, tables, grills and other metal items that could not be put in the bags.
Three round trips with a canoe were made removing the trashed items.
They want to thank the Canal Authority for accepting and taking care of the collected trash.
It is undetermined at this time, whether camping is actually allowed on the island.
“Illegal or not, the gross misuse of the property, abandonment of food and the camping equipment, leaves one to wonder what type of people would do such a thing?” one of the local paddlers added.
As juxtaposed to this situation, each spring in conjunction with Earth Week and Canal Clean Sweep, volunteers have participated in doing a paddle around this area collecting debris and flotsam that had accumulated over the winter.
With several law enforcement agencies all having watercraft that could patrol these waters, the group suggests, that if possible, there are “weekly or better yet, a bi-weekly patrol of this area during the boating season.”