The Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) plan to close the Caroga Lake Camp Site and the Hinckley Day-Use Area is an outrage to our entire Mohawk Valley community. Our local economy is dependent upon these facilities, which draw locals and tourists alike. I am concerned about the long-term effects the closures of these sites will have on our area. I have been contacted by many local business owners who predict that they will not survive the upcoming summer without the traffic and revenue that these two facilities generate.
The DEC is justifying their decision by claiming this plan will provide short-term savings. Unfortunately, this assertion is misguided and shortsighted. Closing these facilities will not only hurt the local economy by forcing local shops that rely on tourists and visitors for business to cut back or close their doors, it also will cost much-needed jobs. With unemployment lines growing larger and wallets getting smaller, local businesses and residents cannot afford to take another hit.
Additionally, the DEC is wrongly claiming that nearby facilities can take the place of Caroga Lake and Hinckley. During these difficult economic times, residents cannot afford to travel for their recreation and look forward to experiencing enjoyment in their own backyards for less money. Both Caroga Lake and Hinckley meet this need, and I believe that it is counterproductive to close these facilities and force people to travel elsewhere in search of affordable recreational activities.
In light of the economic hardships we face, I am urging Commissioner Grannis to reconsider his decision to close Caroga Lake and Hinckley. I am sending him a letter explaining the effect that his decision will have on our local economy. Hopefully, he will listen to my concerns and choose to keep Caroga Lake and Hinckley Day-Use Area open.