ORLEANS, N.Y. (WWTI) — There have been major developments in the fight involving Blind Bay.

The Thousand Islands Land Trust has officially purchased 20.5 acres of waterfront property that is located in the Town of Orleans from Blind Bay Associates, according to a press release from TILT.

This property includes 895 feet of undeveloped shoreline and is recognized by TILT as having ecological significance as it is home to wetland bird populations and over 52 species of fish.

The site was previously surveyed by Customs and Border Protection for a 48,000-square-foot border patrol facility. The facility would be equipped with modernized technology on the shores of the St. Lawrence River to support the already-existing facility located on Wellesley Island, based on information from CBP.

This was strongly opposed by both TILT and Save The River.

“Both TILT and Save The River recognize and support the important role US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) plays in ensuring our safety and national security,” TILT Executive Director Jake Tibbles said in a press release. “But with respect to the concerns surrounding Blind Bay, we truly believe there is a path forward for CBP to achieve its goals all while avoiding irreversible impacts to our region. The cumulative environmental consequences of habitat fragmentation, edge encroachment, migration barriers such as perimeter fencing, noise and light pollution, and wetland degradation will have lasting impacts reaching far beyond the boundaries of the facility site being proposed.”

At the end of September 2022, both Blind Bay Associates and TILT received notice from CBP that it would continue examining the Bay and within the next 90 days, CBP anticipates seeking the right of entry through the U.S. District Court.

However, both TILT and Save The River organizations considered the recent purchase of Blind Bay a “victory.” Statements from both can be read below:

“In today’s world, there are very few issues that gain the attention and support of an entire community. There is no question that the River community is galvanized around its opposition of siting the proposed Border Patrol facility in Blind Bay,” stated Tibbles.  “Moving forward, we are committed to protecting Blind Bay and defending it against eminent domain.”

Thousand Islands Lant Trust

“Save The River is thrilled to hear that the Thousand Islands Land Trust has officially purchased the Blind Bay Property. This is welcome news for the coalition; without partners like TILT, TI Park, TI Association and support from our politicians and municipalities, we would not be able to have this type of successful campaign. We look forward to working together to preserve this critical location. 

Save The River