Fulton County

Hot summer was cool for Great Sacandaga Lake merchants

This year’s boating season on the Great Sacandaga Lake proved to be solid for many merchants, despit

This year’s boating season on the Great Sacandaga Lake proved to be solid for many merchants, despite near-drought conditions in the area.

“This was one of the best years ever for us,” said Louis Stutzke, owner of Food & Fuel on Route 30 in Mayfield. “The No. 1 factor was the weather. No matter when you took the day off, the weather was good.”

Stutzke said business at the store, which sells petroleum and food products, was steady from the Fourth of July holiday through Labor Day, with sales up 11 percent for the year compared with 2011.

“Believe or not, Sept. 1 was our busiest single day ever,” he said. “The only reason I can think is that Saturday fell on the first day of the month and it was a three-day weekend.”

Stutzke and his wife have owned the business 16 years.

Another factor that helped drive traffic to the lake was that the water level remained high enough for boating, said Peter Byron, president of the Great Sacandaga Lake Association.

“The water levels have been lower than would be expected, but they are adequate for people to boat,” he said. “We have not received any negative comments. Everyone is happy with the season.”

Mike Clark, executive director of the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District, which manages the lake and regulates the reservoir’s water flow downstate for flood protection, said the lake level is several feet above the historic average for this time of year. He said the level was 761 feet above sea level as of Tuesday, or about 18 inches below optimum. The lake is considered full at 768 feet.

Agreements require the regulating district to maintain the lake at elevations that are higher than historic levels for recreational purposes. Clark said it was able to do so despite an abnormally dry season.

“There has been little rain since the spring and, consequently, we have received below-average inflow to the reservoir,” he said. Still, the lake’s level has remained several feet above the historic average.

Clark said that prior to the agreements, the district would have drawn water in the lake down several feet below the historic average due to the lack of rainfall.

Stutzke said about 10 years ago, boating on the lake would have most likely ended the second week of August due to the dry season and the agreements not being in place.

Fuel prices did not appear to affect business to a great extent this year, either, Stutzke said. Prices started at $3.95 per gallon for regular gasoline in April, then dropped in May, June and July. They are now topping $4 per gallon in some places.

“People have adjusted to it and realize this is the normal. The sticker shock is gone,” he said.

Amanda Giblan, assistant manager of Adirondack Convenience Store, also on Route 30 in Mayfield, said business has been steady at the facility, which is one of the last stops for motorists before they reach the lake.

“It has been fantastic summer for us,” she said.

Debby Hupkes, who owns the Flip Inn on County Highway 152 in Northville, by contrast, said business was down somewhat from a year ago. This season, the 11-room inn had some vacancies on weekdays, she said.

“Normally, we have no vacancies from Memorial Day to Labor Day,” she said. “The summer was slower and the winter better than expected because of the lack of snow.”

The Flip Inn remains one of the few places offering overnight accommodations in Northville, the others having closed in the last two years. Hupkes took over the inn in 1999 and opened it year-round.

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply