April 9, 1972 saw the beginning of a continuing effort to protect the streams and lakes of Steuben County. On that day, a group of citizens, concerned about the water quality of the lakes where they lived and played, met for the first time to discuss what they could do to preserve the lakes for the tomorrows to come. They soon realized that this was an issue of many people around many lakes in the county. Who better could look after the welfare of the waters than the people who were closest to the problems?
This small group of citizens began attending numerous county meetings to become informed about various developments being planned, which would make changes in the local environment. By April 29, 1972, it was apparent there was a desperate need to band together and be heard as one voice. To that end, the small group was replaced by a group which was representative of many lakes of the region. By June of that year, 218 contributors were supporting this group of representatives with their time, energy, and money. Talk of forming a not-for-profit corporation was a natural next step and became a reality September 26, 1972, when the group officially became the Steuben County Lakes Council, Inc.
In April, 2009 the Steuben County Lakes Council, Inc. begins its 38th year of service to the citizens of the area. The current Board would like to pause at this time to give thanks to those individuals in 1972 who had the foresight to see the environmental needs which would occur over the coming years. Because they had the wisdom to observe that it would take a continuing group effort, they have been able to maintain a core of concerned citizens to speak out when needed to protect the most precious natural resources of Steuben County - the lakes and streams.
The group began in 1972 because of a need to oversee environmental needs. That has not changed today. If anything, the needs have grown as the county population has grown. More people means more development, which means more changes in the environment. There is a continuing need to protect our waters by making sure that development is well planned, being ever cautious that the waters of this county are enhanced by the developmental decisions. Although the individual members serving on the Board of the Steuben County Lakes Council, Inc. have changed over the years, the work of the Board has not changed. Zoning issues, drainage issues, development issues, all of which affect water quality, will continue to be with the county always.
As an environmentalist organization, it is understood that other groups may not always share the same hopes as the Steuben County Lakes Council. One of the Council's main goals is to educate the public about water quality issues. If that can be accomplished, more awareness of the concerns should lead to more eyes and ears to help watch over the beautiful waters of Steuben County. In its 38th year, the Board is appreciative of all the individuals who have given their time to attend meetings, helped make decisions, persevered in an effort to inform others of water quality needs and issues, and furnished financial contributions necessary for the pursuit of these goals. The Board is excited about the future and rededicates their efforts to continue this work with the continued help of concerned citizens.