Blind Bay Public Meeting

By: Jake Tibbles

Volume 19, Issue 6, June 2024

Blind Bay, nestled in the heart of the Thousand Islands, is at a crossroads. Its serene waters, vibrant coastal wetlands, and diverse wildlife are under threat. A sanctuary for humans and animals alike, Blind Bay offers a refuge to secretive marsh birds, a variety of waterfowl, and reticent fur-bearers like the red fox and fisher.

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has proposed building a new, industrial-scale Border Patrol station that would permanently destroy Blind Bay. This unprecedented move aims to expand tactical operations along the Northern Border, with minimal regard to the environmental or economic impacts on our region. The Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT) and Save The River (STR) need your help to protect this local treasure.

Public Meeting

Dates have now been set for a public hearings for the new facility CBP wishes to build along the St. Lawrence River in Blind Bay. The meetings are on Tuesday, June 25, and on Wednesday, June is 26 from 4-7 p.m. at Cerow Recreation Park Arena in Clayton, NY.

Originally, the deadline for public comments was proposed for May 20th. Thanks to the efforts of Senator Schumer, his efforts secured an extended 45-day public comment period past this date.

Joe Leskoske captures the light pollution coming off CBP’s port of entry, negatively.

Why not Blind Bay?

The proposed station would encompass over 48,000 square feet of building space, including a detention center and canine facility, surrounded by a paved parking lot for up to 100 vehicles. It would also require boat storage, docks, a car wash, fuel depot, communications towers that would rise over the River, perimeter fencing, and high-intensity lights. The station’s constant lighting would disrupt the wildlife and eliminate the night sky for 2-3 miles, mirroring the impact seen at the new Port of Entry built in 2022, which has consumed star-filled skies, disturbed neighboring residents in and around Lake of the Isles, and displaced other wildlife from adjacent natural areas.

Isabella Colello captures the light pollution emanating from the CBP facility next to a wetland.

Extensive dredging of the Bay would also be required, potentially releasing legacy toxins like PCBs, mercury, and other heavy metals, posing long-term health and reproductive risks to wildlife and humans alike. This places the entire region at risk. Adverse health effects aside, the shallow waters make it a perfect home for muskies and other fish as it is impossible for larger boats to navigate.

It is worth noting that the original environmental impact assessment did not mention the CBP’s requirement for dredging the bay and the impact of this dredging on the environment.

The Town of Alexandria presented the Recreation Center proposal to CBP in the summer of 2022. To date, CBP has made limited attempts to evaluate the site for suitability, showing a complete disregard for the environment and the River community. With one voice, we must tell Customs & Border Protection NO to the shores of the St. Lawrence.

Must Stay Unified

The River community must stay unified with its message to Site It Right. TILT, STR, and the Blind Bay Coalition emphasize the importance of community involvement in protecting Blind Bay’s environment and preserving the waterfront character. It is YOUR voice, with many other River voices, which can make this happen. Help us spread the word about this comment period.

Please forward this article to your River friends and neighbors and urge them to write a letter and attend the in-person public hearings on Tuesday, June 25th and Wednesday, June 26th.

Our Thanks

Senator Schumer has been a relentless advocate for transparency and community involvement in this process, securing an in-person public meeting on the proposed sites – Blind Bay and Dockside Cottages. We express deep appreciation to Senator Schumer for his continued leadership on this issue, ensuring every voice in our River community is heard.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to all the other elected officials, regional agencies, and community members that have voiced opposition to the CBP’s proposed Border Patrol station in Blind Bay, including Governor Hochul, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, NY Senator Mark Walczyk, NY Assemblyman Scott Gray, Jefferson County Legislator Phil Reed, Thousand Islands Park Association, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Region 6, Town of Clayton, Town of Alexandria, and Town of Orleans.

Comments may be submitted via email or US Mail to: Mr. John Petrilla
Mail: 85 Enterprise Suite 450 (4th Floor), Aliso Viejo, CA, 92656


Additional ways to get involved:

Complete the Save Blind Bay petition by clicking –
And donate today to help ensure Blind Bay is protected for future generations –
Interested in reading TILT’s scoping letter to CBP, click here –

Will you join us?

By Jake Tibbles,
Executive Director, Thousand Islands Land Trust

Posted in: Volume 19, Issue 6, June 2024, News article, Nature

Please click here if you are unable to post your comment.

Submit an Article

Do you have an article you would like to submit? Click here to participate.