Saratoga Lake launch site open for boats; $8 fee returns

For the first time in more than a year, those using the state boat launch on Route 9P will again hav

For the first time in more than a year, those using the state boat launch on Route 9P will again have to pay $8 for the privilege.

The boat launch, which is located just east of the Route 9P bridge at the north end of Saratoga Lake in the town of Saratoga, officially opened Monday.

One of the two large parking lots at the boat launch site was used in late 2010 and the spring and summer of 2011 as a staging area for the construction of the $10.8 million Route 9P bridge.

The new bridge opened May 26, 2011, but some equipment remained at the boat launch site through last summer.

“It was free last summer while construction was going on,” said Michael Greenslade, manager of the Saratoga Spa State Park. Staff from the state park oversee the boat launch site.

“The contractor was using half of the parking lot as a staging area,” Greenslade said. Construction of road shoulders and guardrails continued through the summer of 2011 even though the new bridge itself was open.

Boat owners were able to use half the launch parking area last summer and fall. The state didn’t charge a launching fee last year because of all the construction work going on and the trucks driving into and out of a portion of the launch site.

The area used for staging has been repaved and painted with parking stripes.

In the past, the state had an attendant stationed at the boat launch to collect launch fees. The new system at the launch site is called a “Pay and Display” system and it is, of course, computerized.

Instead of an attendant taking the money, a machine is located at the launch site. The person launching his or her boat must put $8 into the machine, either exact change or a debit or credit card.

The machine then prints out a piece of paper, indicating the person has paid his or her launch fee. This launch permit is displayed on the dashboard of the boat owner’s car or truck in the parking lot so that the state worker who checks the launch parking lot on a regular basis can see that the fee has been paid.

“You put it on the dashboard so it’s easy to read for us when we do an audit,” Greenslade said.

The launch permit is good for just one day. The $8 launch price is the same the state was charging before the Route 9P bridge was replaced.

“We will be doing a daily audit, checking the cars,” Greenslade said.

He said those without the proper permit on their vehicle will receive a warning, a “friendly reminder” that the state is again charging people to launch their boats.

The boat launch is open from sunrise to sunset from early April until Oct. 31.

There are 140 parking spaces at the boat launch’s two lots.

Only two or three cars or trucks with trailers were in the lot early Monday afternoon.

Nicholas Kearney, an employee at Saratoga Tackle on Route 9P across from the board launch, said business was typically slow on Monday.

He said Sunday, which was the opening day of trout season, was fairly busy at the bait and tackle shop.

Kearney said he didn’t think the state resuming the $8 launch fee will keep people away from Saratoga Lake. He said the state has been charging to launch boats at the site for the past 20 years.

The cost was $5 to launch a boat when the program started and was increased to $8 some years ago.

The state offers an Empire Passport for $65 per year that includes free entry into all state parks and free boat launching privileges. There is also a Golden Park Pass for senior citizens, which includes free boat launch privileges on certain days. For more information, call 584-2535 or visit

Categories: Schenectady County

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