NY State Camping Limit Sparks Controversy
Owners of private campgrounds in the Adirondacks are up in arms over a state proposal to limit how long campers can stay, according to New York State news reports.
The Adirondack Park Agency’s (APA) plan would limit the length of stay at the same campsite to 90 days and would ban people from parking a camper in a campground for more than 120 days.
Private park operators in the Adirondacks say if the plan goes through, their industry – as well as the region’s tourist economy – will take a major hit because they say they rely on seasonal campers who pay to leave their campers at a site for the whole summer, then visit mostly during weekends or vacations.
Gil Paddock, owner of Deer River Campsite south of Malone and a regional director for the Campground Owners of New York (CONY), claims the proposed state regulations could put park operators like him out of business because about two-thirds of his 84 campsites are occupied by “seasonal” campers who keep units parked at the site year-round. “It would mean that most of my seasonals would leave,” Paddock told the Plattsburg Republican.
Local officials maintain that other businesses – restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations – rely on this type of visitor as well for a large part of their summer trade.
APA spokesmen, on the other hand, say the proposal is part of a decade-old process of revising the agency’s regulations to improve clarity and consistency. “The proposed regulation provides more opportunity for camping in larger vehicles and allows the camping vehicles to remain in place for a longer time than the previous interpretation of the existing regulation,” the APA said in a statement it issued. “This is not final. Public hearings will be held at which concerned citizens will have an opportunity to influence how the regulation is defined.”
In addition, APA spokesperson Keith McKeever claims the proposed rule change would allow larger camping vehicles at Adirondack campgrounds. Currently, the size limit for a single camp vehicle is 8 feet wide, 35 feet long and 55 feet long for any vehicle combination. The new rule would permit any camping trailer that can legally be operated on the road, he said.
“They’re getting bigger, and we’ve been made aware of that fact,” he said. “So we’re trying to accommodate that change.”
McKeever added that the time limit for camping vehicles is designed to prevent campgrounds from becoming inundated with permanent structures. He said seasonal campers have less of an environmental impact than transient campers because their sites are not occupied that often.
Meanwhile, the campground owners have a visible ally in State Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury), who wrote to APA Executive Director Dan Fitts last week to urge the agency to reconsider the plan. “There is tremendous local opposition to the proposed regulation,” Little said in the letter, which she forwarded to Gov. George Pataki and APA commissioners. “It will have a detrimental economic impact on privately owned campgrounds, potentially forcing some to close.”