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Adirondack Campgrounds Slated for Closure

February 20th, 2009 · 15 Comments · News

Updated 3/24/10: 7 Adirondack Campgrounds to Stay Closed

Updated 5/7/09: DEC Revises Campground Closure Plan

151 sites and 15 Lean-to’s

ClosedFour of the oldest campgrounds in the Adirondack Park are closing due to low occupancy and state budget constraints.  There is no doubt that these two factors are undeniable, but part of me wishes it wouldn’t be so.  Two campgrounds in Essex County will be closed – Poke-O-Moonshine and Sharp Bridge and two in Hamilton County – Point Comfort and Tioga Point.  The full DEC press release is after the jump.

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In 1912, the fire tower at the top of Poke-O-Moonshine Mt. was established.   This is likely one of the most well-known short hikes in the Northern Adirondacks.  Incredibly, the campground is almost 80 years old.  I’m sure it was a much nicer location before the Northway was built.  I can imagine doing a tour of Ausable Chasm, dinner in Keeseville, and a nice quiet camp at the base of the cliffs.  Now you can hear the trucks 24/7 and if you go to Keeseville…lock your doors.  Historical occupancy figures would be interesting – for all of the state campgrounds.  Probably the most impacted by this closure might be the rock climbers, or not.  Eh, I’m not a climber and I have no idea if they stay there.  Any way you look at it, 8% occupancy is more than enough reason to close this facility.

Sharp Bridge Campground - Historic MarkerSharp Bridge.  Another old one – 1920.  Imagine driving up Route 9 from “the city” for the one site they had there that year.  North Hudson is now a location better known for the potential of a Northway border checkpoint and the recent tragic accidents there.  A whole bunch of people also remember it for being the location of the Frontier Town theme park.  I’m kind of surprised about this one.  Maybe less people are camping these days.

I don’t know much about the Hamilton County campgrounds. Given the fact that 1/3 of the DEC campgrounds (?) are in that county, likely they won’t be missed.  However, I regret never having visited Tioga Point with its 15 Lean-to’s and 10 sites.  Sounds like a pretty neat setup.

Now, the big question is what will be the fate of those facilities?  I suppose that information may be buried in some Unit Management Plans, but I’m too lazy to look.  Back to nature?  Yes!


Sparse Occupancy at Targeted Facilities

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced that in response to the continuing fiscal crisis, six campgrounds with very low occupancy rates in the Adirondack Park and Catskill Park will not open in 2009.

“As Governor Paterson has made clear, New York is facing a large budget deficit and must make many hard choices,” Commissioner Grannis said. “Closing these facilities for the 2009 season is one such hard choice, but is one that is necessary in these tough economic times.”

The six facilities slated for closure are:

These facilities were selected based upon sparse use over the previous years – often the camps had an occupancy rate 20 percent or less. Poke-O-Moonshine had an occupancy rate of 8 percent or less the last two years.

Individuals who have already made camping reservations for the 2009 season will be contacted by ReserveAmerica, who manages the campground reservation system. They will be provided assistance with making alternative camping reservations. All of the targeted campgrounds have other DEC campgrounds nearby. Alternate campgrounds include: Ausable Point, Lincoln Pond, Little Sand Point, Poplar Point, Golden Beach, Brown Tract Pond and Little Pond. Because of the usual turnover of campground staff there will be no layoffs. Staff who worked at these campgrounds last year will be re-assigned to other campgrounds in the area.

DEC is responsible for managing 52 campgrounds and 7 day-use areas in New York’s Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves.

DEC Revises Campground Closure Plan

Four of Six Facilities to Open for Shortened Season

ALBANY, NY (05/07/2009) — Working in collaboration with local governments, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has revised its original plan for closing six campgrounds for the 2009 season, Commissioner Pete Grannis announced today. The new plan will allow the state to capitalize on peak camping times while reducing operational costs.

Under the new plan, DEC will operate four of the six campgrounds for shortened seasons, from June 26 through Labor Day. In addition, after partnering with local officials, DEC will substitute one Piseco Lake-area campground in Hamilton County on the closure list for another. At the campgrounds that will remain closed, DEC will allow use of its hiking and horse trails and climbing routes.

“New York is facing tough economic times and closing campgrounds was not an easy choice. With the help of local officials, DEC has devised a way to soften the impact,” Commissioner Grannis said. “Each of the targeted facilities historically suffered from low occupancy over the course of a full season. By shortening the season, we can open the campgrounds during traditional peak occupancy periods. This plan will help local tourism and provide opportunities for affordable getaways while still reducing annual our operating costs.”

The revisions for the 2009 season are:

In the Adirondacks

Point Comfort, Arietta, Hamilton County.

The campground will be operated under an abbreviated season – from June 26 through Labor Day. However, DEC will not open Poplar Point, which is also in the Piseco Lake area, for 2009. DEC will explore options to work cooperatively with Arietta officials to continue to potentially offer a day-use facility at Poplar Point in future years.

Sharp Bridge, North Hudson, Essex County.

The campground will be operated under an abbreviated season – from June 26 through Labor Day.

Tioga Point, Raquette Lake, Hamilton County.

The campground will be operated under an abbreviated season – from June 26 through Labor Day.

Poke-O-Moonshine, Keeseville, Essex County.

The previous decision to close this facility remains in effect. Hikers, rock climbers and other recreational users will be able to access hiking trails and climbing routes by parking in the entrance area. No fee will be charged for parking.

DEC will work closely with ReserveAmerica, the state’s camping reservation service contractor, to contact visitors whose reservations were previously canceled, to offer them their original reservations and to re-open the camping site inventory to them before it is made available to the general public. DEC will cover the cost of the reservation fees to lessen the impact to the visitors that will be affected.

DEC is responsible for managing 52 campgrounds and 7 day-use areas in New York’s Adirondack Park and Catskill Park.

“I appreciate the cooperation of Commissioner Peter Grannis, the DEC and local officials working together to operate the Beaverkill,” said State Senator John Bonacic. “The State has an obligation to the people of the Catskills to ensure the assets the State owns are operated and accessible to the public. I want to particularly commend Sullivan County Legislative Chairman Jonathan Rouis and Legislator Alan Sorensen for their efforts and initiative in relation to the Beaverkill.”

“I’m very happy the Department of Environmental Conservation listened to our concerns and worked with local officials to revise their plan,” said State Senator Betty Little. “A cooperative approach ensures the best outcome in tough times.”

Help the Economy, Go Camping:

2009 Adirondack Campgrounds Schedule

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15 Comments so far ↓

  • City Mouse

    Oooh. Ouch. That sucks. As you mention though, the numbers more than justify the closings. I had thought about visiting Poke-O-Moonshine or Ausable Point this year. Guess it’ll be Ausable Point or nothing.

    Interesting historic slant too – We sometimes take Route 9 all the way up from the city (rather than the Northway). I always find myself trying to imagine what it must have been like pre-87 … as we’re passing those long-shuttered cabin colonies and motels.

  • TourPro

    What a speedy-reading Mouse!

    You take Route 9 all the way!? Are you doing it by stagecoach too?!

  • City Mouse

    LOL – Usually we cheat and pick up 9 at Tarrytown.

    We’ve done it from the beginning of 9 at Battery Park in Manhattan though. We like it if we’re not in a hurry. The only stretch we don’t like is the area before Albany. Kinda boring.

  • NYCO

    If I’m not mistaken, Tioga Point is a boat-access-only campground.

    Now I’m bummed that there were these low-occupancy campgrounds out there that I didn’t know about!

  • jodycb

    That really stinks. Sharp bridge is my go-to spot. I almost always go there because I don’t need to worry about having reservations… I don’t have to plan my vacation down to the day. It’s quiet. The trees are huge. It’s close enough to the high peaks. My family stayed there all the time when I was a kid. I’m so sad.

  • TourPro

    Geographically speaking, even though Sharp Bridge is near the Northway, it is pretty remote in terms of nearby services. Maybe they could scale it down to a more low maintenance primitive camping area.

    I think its gotta be one of the oldest state campgrounds. Can’t find any definitive info on that…..yet.

    You know that it’s very unlikely we will see any new campgrounds anytime in the near future. That’s what makes these closures really hurt.

    With the low occupancy, you can’t blame the state for this decision.

  • DEC to Leave 6 Campgrounds Closed in 2009 « New York Outdoors Blog

    […] Click here for more info on the Adirondack closings. […]

  • dave

    I think it stinks because we didn’t get ourselves into this mess. It was our elected officals. But as always we have to pay the price. NOT THEM

  • Tom

    why “punish ” people who enjoy the outdooors because of the actions of others(ie. politicians) – Tioga is a beautiful, boat access only, place with alot of history – to take it away is a crime; when was the last time the governor camped?

  • TourPro

    Seems like Tioga could remain a primitive campsite.

    The others, not sure.

  • susan

    We already made our reservations for our summer vacations to Point Comfort. July 4th now gone, my family & friends all camping there. NOW the DEC thinks that we can just find another campground to go to, here’s a Suprise for you.. THEY ARE ALL BOOKED! I had a water site for 10 days, my BIG vacation for the summer, GONE. if the NYS DEC wanted to close the campground, should have done so before letting everyone plan there summer camping trips. THIS IS HORRIBLE & UNFAIR.

  • TourPro

    That is a real bummer, especially if you have to plan ahead and manage a large group.

    Surely it is still early enough to find a spot somewhere?

  • susan

    No, sites with water access like we had gone. I was going for 10 days, taking our kayaks, need to be on water site. That’s the whole point of my vacation & why we plan so far ahead. my camper is 30 ft long with slide out, slim choices. All of our campers are min. of 24 ft. NYS DEC has no consideration for campers!

  • R

    It’s a shame that they have to publish inacurate information about the occupancy. To make people think like they were really that low on numbers. Those numbers are not the truth and I can prove it (for one of the six parks). but it would not make a difference, they still would close them.

    The state will not save $1 by the closing these 6 parks. They are keeping all of the positions and dropping the parks. Which bring in revenue, no matter how little (compaired to the hungry hippos). They will actually lose money by closing them and still paying the workers.

    Your right everyone who enjoys these parks are being punished by their political choice. The genius decision of some guy who got a 100% on a civil service test thinks it will save the state $. With this uneducated leadership, its easy to see why this happened.

    Hopefully, they are not complete idiots and close these parks for good. They should re-open in about 4-6 yrs (all 6 parks).

  • Chris

    Fools. Bureaucratic fools.

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