People flock to Great Sacandaga Lake even with high water levels

A public barbecue grill sits in several inches of water, near a jet ski on the shore of the Edinburg Town Park on Saturday, July 24, 2021, as recent heavy rainfall has caused the Great Sacandaga Lake to rise several feet in recent weeks.
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A public barbecue grill sits in several inches of water, near a jet ski on the shore of the Edinburg Town Park on Saturday, July 24, 2021, as recent heavy rainfall has caused the Great Sacandaga Lake to rise several feet in recent weeks.

Higher water levels on The Great Sacandaga Lake due to recent heavy rainfall didn’t stop families from launching boats or jet skis, swimming or relaxing on some of the beaches that surround the lake on Saturday. 

Will Vosecek started off sitting in a chair at a small table with some friends, on the edge of the shoreline at a small beach next to the Broadalbin Public Boat Launch. About an hour and a half later, he decided to move the chair in the water and sit there instead. 

Vosecek, an area native, now visits friends every summer since moving to Florida two years ago. 

“I drive my motorhome from Florida up here,” he said. 

He spent Saturday afternoon sunbathing, in addition to drinking and munching on snacks like chips and rice crispy treats, with his friends Colleen and Kevin Wheatley, their daughter, Eve, and her friend, Leyanna Klotz. 

Vosecek said as they were driving around the lake, they noticed some picnic areas were under water, with charcoal grills just noticeable above the water. 

The higher water levels didn’t bother him one bit though.

“I’m loving it,” he said. 

Eve Wheatley and Klotz were having fun, too. 

They waded out to the lake before starting a splash fight between each other. 

Colleen Wheatley said it was their first time up at the lake. 

While water levels were a little high, they are still within normal ranges, said Robert Leslie, the general counsel for the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District. 

“There’s still room in the reservoir,” he said, and didn’t mention any concerns about flooding. 

“The reservoir is designed to handle far in excess of the capacity the water levels are at now,” he said.

Dave Sutter said the water was about 3 feet higher than it was a couple weeks ago. About 100 to 150 feet from the boat launch, Sutter said a sand dune can usually be seen this time of year, but now only trees could be made out. 

He said Sand Island also didn’t really have any sand area for people to relax on because of the higher water levels. 

“It can be a lot higher,” he said. 

He said in past years, they’ve seen the water come up so high you were actually driving through it as you backed your boat into the water. 

But he and his wife, Linda, didn’t care how high the water was. They said they were just happy to get the boat out on the water. 

There was a steady line of people looking to launch boats and jetskis between noon and 1:30 p.m. Saturday. 

Back over at the beach, Mauren Kentris-Milette was sunbathing as she waited for her daughter and a friend to show up. 

Kentris-Milette said she hadn’t planned to relax at that site. Instead, she found it while searching for a friend’s private property on the lake. She said she liked the location and decided to hang out there instead. 

Several feet down from her, Amber Littleton was watching her daughter, Sadie Voga, swim, while her son, Eric Voga, sat beside her.

Littleton also noticed the higher water levels. 

“We were here last week for her birthday and it was definitely higher,” she said.   

But Sadie Voga didn’t care how high the water was. 

“I like to go in the deep end,” she said, soaking wet and smiling.

While the beach next to the Broadalbin Public Boat Launch was able to stay open, the state Department of Environmental Conservation temporarily closed Northampton Beach in Mayfield because the beach area was flooded. The picnic area stayed open.

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News, Saratoga County

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