SARANAC LAKE - The Lower Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain will be shut down for the winter on Monday, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced.
The locks are closed and made inoperable every winter to avoid unsafe situations for users and to prevent damage to the locks.
"DEC must act responsibly to protect the public and ensure the continued long term operation of these important facilities," said DEC Region 5 Director Robert Stegemann, who's based in Ray Brook. "Operation of the locks in the presence of ice is unsafe for users and can overtax lock machinery and equipment."
Operation of the locks in icy conditions in the past was the cause of damage to hoses, hydraulic rams and the hydraulic control mechanism. The repair of these damages is costly and stops boater traffic in the highly utilized area while the locks are being repaired.
DEC does not officially close the Upper Locks on the Saranac Lakes Chain. They are manually operated and become inoperable when ice forms. Unlike the Lower Locks, there is no hydraulic equipment that can be damaged.
The Lower Locks will be reopened after the ice goes out in the spring.