Port Henry The Bulwagga Bay campground is a major revenue source for the town of Moriah, but could it be an under-utilized asset?
That’s the question Moriah officials are asking.
“Is that property being used to its fullest potential?” Supervisor Tom Scozzafava asked. “We derive a good revenue right now, but could it benefit the residents of the community more?”
To find out the town will hire a consultant to investigate the town-owned campsite, beach and boat launch operation and to make recommendations. The study will be done in conjunction with the Moriah Economic Development Group (EDGE) and the Essex County/Lake Placid Visitors Bureau.
Bulwagga Bay campsite is popular and successful. It’s 160 seasonal camping sites are full this summer and the town projects $280,000 in revenue there this year. Officials expect a $180,000 profit that will be used to offset local taxes.
This won’t be the first study of Bulwagga Bay. A decade ago a study suggested the town sell the facility on Lake Champlain.
“There was a public out cry,” Scozzafava said. “The people of Moriah want to keep Bulwagga Bay; there’s no way we can ever sell it. It belongs to the people of Moriah.”
But that doesn’t mean other options are unavailable. The town may realize more money from Bulwagga Bay by leasing it to the private company while retaining free access for local residents — or perhaps the town needs to invest in upgrades at the campground and beach that would allow more campers and/or higher fees.
“We definitely should spend more money down there (at Bulwagga Bay),” Scozzafava said. “We would like to provide more amenities, but you have to spend money to do that. Would that investment pay off for us? That’s what we need to find out.”
Scozzafava pointed out camping has changed in the past decade or so. Instead of people coming for a week or weekend, vacationers now want a place where they can set up a camping trailer for a summer.
“Our bread and butter are the seasonal campers,” the supervisor said. “Very few people come in for a night or a weekend. People want to put their camper someplace for the season — and we have the ideal location on Lake Champlain to do that.
“It’s one of the best assets we have,” Scozzafava said of Bulwagga Bay. “This is a crown jewel of Lake Champlain. We know that, but are we utilizing it to its fullest potential?”