By Mark Frost, Chronicle Editor
Camping is still banned because of the COVID emergency, but the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is going ahead with installation of the docks on the public islands and shoreline of Lake George.
“DEC has installed approximately 40% of the docks at sites in each of the three sections — Glen Island, Long Island and Narrow Island — of the Lake George Islands Campground all the way up to the Waltonian Islands,” DEC spokesman David Winchell said in response to a Chronicle inquiry.
“DEC will continue to install docks as weather and other staff assignments allowed.
“The campground is not open “at this time, however, the work continues to ensure we are prepared should campgrounds be reopened.”
ReserveAmerica, the website that handles DEC camping reservations, says: “New York State has suspended all new camping, cabin and cottage reservations for the 2020 season until further notice.”
Camping at state sites is prohibited at least through May 31.
“We are assessing campground status on a daily basis. If you’ve made a reservation for the season beginning June 1, and we determine your campground is safe to open, your reservation will be honored.
“However, visitors who wish to cancel an existing reservation may do so and receive a full refund. Thank you for your patience as we work to protect the safety of our visitors and staff.”
2 boat dealers: How things are going so far…
By Mark Frost, Chronicle Editor
The boat business was stalled for weeks when boating was deemed non-essential in the early stage of the state’s coronavirus “pause.”
Then marinas and dealers were allowed to open, under the same general rules that apply to car dealers. Service and parts okay, sales allowed but no entry to showrooms, no boat rentals, social distancing rules required.
“We’re behind,” said Scott Andersen at F.R. Smith marina in Bolton Landing. “We lost those four to five weeks. That month really cooked us as far as getting boats in the water.”
He said his emphasis is health and safety, especially of his staff, which can number as high as 28 people in July, including pumping gas and rentals.
Mr. Andersen said his approach to “limit the exposure…No mask, no gas. We’re gonna try and go, but I don’t want to endanger the kids or anyone who works here.”
For parts orders, he says, “Call us up. We’ll run it up the hill and leave it in a bag.”
As for boat sales, Mr. Andersen says, “I have a tremendous volume of calls — not so much new boats but used boats.”
Of a customer coming in to see a new boat, Mr. Andersen said he’d leave it for the customer to check on his own. “I’m literally putting the boat in the water and telling him to take it for a ride. This is someone I know. He’s bought boats from me.”
He said most people handle the situation. He said F.R. Smith is lucky to have “long-term, long-time customers. I’ve been here 38 years and they go back that far. They’re understanding.
“For the most part everybody is trying to do the right thing.”
Nick Barber of Pilot Knob Marina said, “All things consider we’re doing fine. We’re in reasonably good shape.”
He thinks the boat business might benefit from the pandemic aftermath. “I think people are gonna hang around,” rather than make trips to distance places.
Talking about the coronavirus, Mr. Barber said, “We heard about bubonic plague and the Great Depression, but you just think something like this is never gonna happen.”
He said, “I never realized what a privilege it is go to work until this happened. There are people who are not allowed to go to work.”
At Norowal Marina, which is operated by Bolton’s Local Development Corporation, Mr. Andersen sits on the LDC board.
“They’re launching” boats, he said. On the beautiful first Sunday in May, “Things were busy.”
He said, “I have some customers who rent dock space [at Norowal]. They’re eager to have their boats in the water.”
Copyright © 2020 Lone Oak Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.