Lake George season pass boaters lost valued option in NY’s new rules

Mark,

In your commentary about the new Lake George day-use site reservation system [June 22 Chronicle], you didn’t mention what I consider to be a significant change (and loss) with the Annual Pass (Passport).

In past years, a pass holder not only had the ability to “squat” on an unused day-use site but could also officially reserve a day-use site at no additional charge using their pass number.

With the new system, Passport holders must pay the standard fee to reserve a site. The $80 fee for the pass leaves them with only squatter’s rights.

This greatly diminishes the value of the pass, particularly for those accustomed to making multiple day-use reservations with their sticker number.

In addition, I wonder if the new system will result in lots of reserved but vacant day-use sites similar to what happens with camping sites.

With the old system, at least one had to be out on the water to reserve, which meant the site would most likely actually be used. The online system creates a greater possibility of boaters getting closed out of day-use sites only to have the actual site sit dormant because those holding the reservation decided not to show up.

Like most things, figuring out the best system for day-use reservations is more complicated than it might seem. Still, I wonder how many day-use site users the state consulted as they crafted the revised system. It would be great to have a system that allowed “turning-in” a day use site once a party is leaving the lake for the day. This would provide increased access to day-use sites while generating more revenue for the state.

A system that provides fair and efficient access to one of our area’s amazing public resources is out there, and being able to check availability and reserve sites online is moving us in the right direction. However, we still have some distance to travel to check all the boxes.

— Steve Preuss

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