Crown Point Friday, Aug. 29 was not a good day for Norm St. Pierre. That’s when the owner of Norm’s Bait & Tackle on Bridge Street learned the nearby Crown Point Campground was closing six weeks earlier than usual, on Labor Day.
“It’s like a slap in the face,” he said.
St. Pierre said business from the fall fishing and foliage-peepers who stay at the facility during those six weeks help get him and other merchants through the winter.
“We sell a lot of camp wood during that time, more than what we sell all summer,” he said.
The state agency that manages the facility, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), said they made the decision to close earlier based on low attendance numbers during the late season in previous years.
Others will follow.
Fish Creek in Franklin County will close Oct. 26 while Putnam Pond Campground in Ticonderoga will close on Sept. 12 to allow for a paving facelift.
DEC officials were unavailable to comment on exact attendance numbers by the time this story went to press on Labor Day, a federal holiday.
"Even if attendance is down, those who showed up are extremely important to us,“ said St. Pierre. “It's a good impact, whether be four, 10 or 100."
St. Pierre said he estimated anywhere from eight to 20 patrons during those six weeks depending on the weather.
He said his business will stay open regardless.
“They’re stomping on me some more, just like they did when they closed the bridge,” he said, referring to the two-year interruption of traffic from Vermont during the construction of the Lake Champlain Bridge, which was opened in Nov. 2011.
“This is just crazy.”
Calls to the Crown Point Campgrounds were not returned.
State campgrounds typically remain open until mid-October.
DEC spokesperson David Winchell said the Paradox Lake Campground in Schroon Lake will remain open for campers who wish to remain in the Lake Champlain area this fall. He also recommended the Ausable Point Campground in Peru.
Both will remain open through Columbus Day Weekend.
Campers that had reservations at Putnam Pond have had their reservations transferred to Paradox Lake. Winchell said cancellations will be accepted without any surcharges.