The Good, the Bad and the Naughty

Being ensconced in the awesome natural, historic, and recreational paradise of New York’s Lake Champlain region should inspire goodness in all of us.

But even here, there are some for whom the urge to be “bad” persists year round. If you’re one of them or want to be one of them, I’ve compiled a handy list of ways to ensure your place on the Naughty List.

1. Utilize the Fort Ticonderoga cannons for a pretend game of Angry Birds or Asteroids. 

Fort Ticonderoga has a number of historic cannons on display, unloaded but trained on the perimeter, as they were in the 1700s, in defense of the Fort and its strategic location. Those cannons represent a valuable and historically-accurate backdrop for the living history programs that are presented at the Fort.  

Any persons caught pretending to utilize the cannons as slingshots to loft birds at invisible targets or aiming to explode imaginary asteroids that are slowly floating and spinning across the sky will be placed on the Naughty List.

It’s just not cool to mix time periods.

Fort Ticonderoga cannons
Fort Ticonderoga cannons

2. Photograph Champ without permission

Champ, the Lake Champlain Monster, is a creature protected by law in both New York and Vermont. Though the laws do not specifically mention copyright or other infringement for photographing Lake Champlain’s Loch Ness, it can be assumed that the increased prevalence of smartphone use on the Lake should prompt a study of the potential dangers to the creature associated with exposure on digital film.

If you spot Champ, as many, many have, the polite thing to do would be to gain consent from the creature itself before you snap a photo. Admittedly, it might be difficult to get a response, given that he/she probably has the water-in-the-ears syndrome. The next best thing - in order to be in compliance - would be to talk to the mayor of Port Henry, the Home of Champ, perhaps. 

Granted, the law here isn’t clear, so if you’re bent on making the Naughty List, let’s see those Polaroids!

Champ sightings sign
Champ sightings sign

3. Guess “boy or girl” at the Fish Hatchery

The Essex County Fish Hatchery stocks tens of thousands of yearling trout into roughly 65 bodies of water in the Adirondacks. The gender of the fish has ALWAYS been a surprise when they hatch, and those squares who would guess are immediately added to the Naughty List . 

No one wants to know in advance, or they would conduct ultrasounds as part of the program.

4. Refer to the Lake’s namesake as “Big Daddy Sam”

As the first European to map and describe it after leading an expedition north from the Richelieu River and exploring in 1609, Samuel de Champlain named this big lake after himself. The lighthouse at Crown Point features a statue of Champlain by Carl Augustus Heber. Among other sites, he is also referred to as "Father of New France" and "Father of Acadia.” 

As such, referring to Champlain as any sort of “Daddy” is far too informal, and will result in being included on the Naughty List - en francais.

bass fishing on Lake Champlain
bass fishing on Lake Champlain

5. Sing “All about that Bass” while fishing for… bass

Though it is not an “official” law, it is frowned upon to sing the popular 2014 song “All about that bass” by Meghan Trainor while fishing for bass on Lake Champlain.

First of all, the fish name is pronounced bas (rhymes with grass) not bās (rhymes with case).

Second, the sound of this particular song, with its varied tempo and high notes, is distracting to fellow anglers and frightens away all varieties of the North American freshwater sunfish family.  

Silence, or whistling anything from the cartoon classics “Finding Nemo” or the “The Little Mermaid” is acceptable, however, and might keep you off the Naughty List.

Coal Resource  

This list is just a sampler but offers some tips for those Grinch-like folks with “all the tender sweetness of a seasick crocodile” who seek to find coal in their stockings.

You’re welcome!


--Kim Rielly is the director of communications for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, and says she can be found on the nice list.