Flooding keeps campground closed

CROWNPOINT-Memorial Day weekend is the traditional opening of the Monitor Bay campground, attracting families to camp and picnic.

Not this year. The facility, owned and operated by the town of Crown Point, is closed because of flooding along Lake Champlain.

"It's closed indefinitely," Supervisor Bethany Kosmider said. "I really don't know when we'll be able to open."

Lake Champlain crested at 103 feet this spring, that's three feet above flood stage. Kosmider said she's been told it normally takes 20 days for the lake to drop a foot, which means it could be 60 days until water levels reach normal.

"That would put us into July," Kosmider said. "I'm hoping it won't be that long. We really don't know what to expect; we've never had flooding like this before."

Not only is the campground and picnic area closed, so is the town boat launch. Crown Point is scheduled to host a bass tournament June 24, but that's in serious jeopardy.

"Right now you can't even get to the boat launch," Kosmider said. "I don't know if we'll be able to have the bass tournament or not."

The water is so high some seasonal campers that were left at Monitor Bay during the winter are now partially under water.

"It's the highest water in memory," Kosmider said. "We can't even pull those campers out. We can't get to them."

Besides inconveniencing campers and others, the Monitor Bay closure is costing the town money.

The campsite has hookups for 39 camper trailers and three tent sites. Many of those are seasonal campers who pay to stay all summer. Now, they can't.

"We'll have to pro-rate the seasonals," Kosmider said. "That's money we count on."

There is also fear of the unknown. Just how much damage and debris will be left in the campground and boat launch area when water recedes? Repairs and cleanup could further delay the Monitor Bay opening.

The local economy will also be hurt if the June 24 bass tournament can't be held, the supervisor noted.

Kosmider is asking campers and others to be patient.

"There's no way of telling when the water will be down enough to open the campground or the boat launch," she said. "All we can do is watch and let people know the situation."

The flooding is also delaying a dock improvement project the town had planned to complete this summer.

"We don't know when that will happen, either," Kosmider said. "Mother Nature will dictate what we can and can't do."

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