GREAT LAKE OF SACANDAGA — As people geared up for Sunday’s Ring of Fire, an annual summer send-off on Great Sacandaga Lake, officials and business owners say this season was much like any other despite the economic conditions.
“Despite inflation and high gas prices, people were here to enjoy the lake,” said Anne Boles, director of tourism at the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Boles said many marinas have little to no open slips for boats this lakeside season.
“Traffic was very heavy on the way up to the lake,” she said.
Gordon’s Lakeside Marina in Mayfield had a waiting list for boat slips this summer, owner Gregg Gordon said.
“I think the majority of marinas on the lake are in the same position,” he said.
He said that even though gas prices were high, people at his marina pay for boat space all summer and the good weather certainly helped many people get in the water even if they haven’t made long trips on the lake.
“The weather has probably been one of the best seasons we’ve had in a long time,” he said.
The National Weather Service office in Albany tweeted Thursday that this summer has featured above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation.
But while the weather has provided many ideal days for boating, the lack of precipitation means the boating season will likely end earlier.
“Our lake is a reservoir controlled by a dam, so the waters are released throughout the summer from the dam through the regulating district, so the lake drops as they release water, we so let’s rely on rain to refill the lake as they release water,” he said. “So if we don’t get rain, the lake will drop continuously through the summer, and then we’ll have what we have this year, which will be a month, month and a half early season.”
Anecdotally, Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino said he’s also had fewer complaints this year about boaters and people on jet skis, etc.
“We think part of the reason is the price of gas,” he said. “We checked with some marinas and they said people weren’t buying as much gas because of the high price. Lots of people were staying at the docks or getting the boat out and parking it.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation operates a campground on Great Sacandaga Lake, one on Sacandaga Lake, and four others in the area – one on Caroga Lake, Little Sand Point, and Poplar Point on the Piseco Lake and the Sacandaga Campground on the Sacandaga River.
“For these facilities, trends continue to increase visits over the past five to 10 years,” said DEC spokesperson Lori Severino. “Although we are currently slightly below last year’s all-time high, we see the positive trend continuing with footfall and usage from the pre-COVID years.”
There has also been an increase in daytime attendance, she said.
“Daytime use is very weather dependent and we had a hot and dry summer season which brings people to enjoy the outdoors,” she said.
While the DEC doesn’t specifically track the number of boats using state boat launches along The Great Sacandaga, Severino said the department has generally noticed increased usage year-over-year. last.
The other reason many people visited the lake this summer was that there were various other events taking place in the communities surrounding the lake, Boles said. She said people could make a day out of it – boating on the lake, followed by a music event or eating at a local restaurant.
Boles said the chamber visitor center in Broadalbin has seen people from neighboring states, but also others from the west, like Arizona, and even people from other countries, including the United Kingdom. United and Israel.
Gordon said while they welcomed locals to their docks, they also saw a lot of people from across the state.
“The lake is probably busier than it has been in a long time and it seems to be getting busier and busier,” he said.