As Labor Day weekend brings summer to a close, state park campground operators in New York say the season didn’t turn out the way it was shaping up in the spring.
By the end of May, reservations were up 15% at state campgrounds, compared to a year earlier – a figure that dropped to 4% by the end of August. Officials say the explanation is simple: rain.
“A few weeks ago we had a hail storm and it was like a raging river here,” Thompson’s Lake State Park director Chris Fallon said Thursday (Aug. 28). “All the culverts overflowed. The ditches were full. And a couple of campsites were wet. We had a few people leave early because of it.”
While reservations have leveled off over the past three months, officials at this campground located west of Albany, N.Y., have not been disappointed with the turnout, according to the Albany Times Union. A record number of campers came out a year ago and numbers are up this year despite the downpours. By this time last year, 119,000 reservations had been made statewide, compared to 124,000 this summer.
Fuel prices may have something to do with the increase. Traveling costs more, so vacationers are more apt to stay at a campsite than a hotel. At Thompson’s Lake, where a night of camping costs no more than $16, reservations are up nearly 4% over last year, despite the rain.
Ann Blais, 57, of Albany, has been set up all summer on site No. 9 at Thompson’s Lake. She has made the campground her summer home for the past 28 years, and once was the subject of a local television newscast because she kept a constant fire during 19 straight days of rain. That was 20 years ago. It was the only summer rainier than this year.
“You can’t let it stop you,” Blais said. “It still beats a summer in the city.”
Across the street at site No. 10, Carol Flynn, 53, of Albany, also has made the campground her summer home for decades. She can’t recall a summer as wet as this one.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever sat here and watched my shoes float away,” she said. “But it’s OK. When it rains, we just sit under cover and play cards.”
Labor Day weekend is expected to be sunny and dry. As of Thursday, 82% of state campsites were booked.