The main purpose of the Kinderhook Lake Corporation (KLC) is to maintain and improve Kinderhook Lake, a beautiful natural lake located at the northern edge of Columbia County in New York State .
The Corporation was formed in 1953, as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. At that time, the Valatie Mills Corporation controlled the dam and would lower the lake level as a means of generating power for the mills. In order to control the lake level and assure that the lake remained at an enjoyable level during the summer, about 200 residents joined together to form the KLC and purchased the dam and the bottom of the lake.
The Corporation works with the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to control the water level, weeds, algae and fish stocking. KLC is a non-profit, volunteer organization composed of about 250 on-lake and off-lake members and is operated by a 12-member volunteer Board of Directors that is elected by the members to serve three-year terms. A Newsletter is published several times per year to keep the members, as well as non-member riparian owners, aware of activities. It maintains a launch site and parking lot for members with power boats and for the public with carry-on boats. In addition, it sponsors a kayak rally and a boat parade on the 4th of July. The KLC also sells a variety of merchandise, including flares that are lit 4th of July evening to provide a “ring of fire” around the lake.
The primary source of income for the KLC is from annual dues which are used to support a Dam-Reserve Fund, Water Quality, and Fish Stocking Funds. In addition, members can donate funds directly in support of the Dam-Reserve Fund, Water Quality, and Fish Stocking Funds. Regardless of additional donations, a minimum of $10,200 per year is moved from the General Fund to the Dam Reserve Fund to ensure that adequate monies are available to repair the dam in case of an emergency. For example, erosion and a faulty gate mechanism were repaired in 2000 at a cost of approximately $67,000, paid for entirely from the Reserve Fund, at no additional cost to members or municipalities around the lake. In 2011, approximately $120,000 was spent to reinforce the oldest portions of the dam and make other miscellaneous repairs, again at no additional cost to members or the community. This type of foresight, as well as innovative programs on the part of the Board of Directors to improve water quality and regulate weed growth, have continually improved the aesthetics and appeal of the lake over the years.
Of all the lakes in New York State, Kinderhook Lake has the unique distinction of having been one of the first to be “electrified.” In the early 1900’s, the Albany and Hudson Railway, which operated a third-rail trolley from Albany to Hudson, built an “Electric Park” on the East Shore of Kinderhook Lake with some of the first electric lights and amusement rides in the country. In the summer, revelers from all over the state as well as Boston came to enjoy the amusement rides, the giant slide into the lake, plays, and dancing. The Park closed during World War I, but the Lake has remained as one of the most enjoyable and picturesque recreational locations in NY State.
Thank you for your interest in Kinderhook Lake and the Kinderhook Lake Corporation.