Sullivan County saves Beaverkill Campground

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From left, the DEC’s William Janeway, Catskill Mountainkeeper’s Ramsay Adams, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Sullivan County Legislator Elwin Wood celebrate Beaverkill Campground’s re-opening.Times Herald-Record/STEVE SACCO

Times Herald-Record
Posted: July 02, 2009 – 2:00 AM

ROSCOE — The Beaverkill Campground, which usually opens in mid-May, has been open only since June 26 but it almost didn’t open at all this year, says William Janeway, regional director with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

With New York State’s budget woes, the 52-site campground, which the DEC operates at a loss, was cut from the state budget.

It was only the efforts of the Sullivan County Legislature that allowed it to open, says Janeway. Legislators voted to put aside about $20,000 in this year’s budget for the camp to remain open.

On Wednesday County Legislator Elwin Wood, Janeway, Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and Catskill Mountainkeeper representative Ramsay Adams gathered to celebrate the camp’s re-opening.

News of the closing had created a hubbub. The Catskill Mountainkeeper, a nonprofit environmental group, began circulating a petition on the Internet to keep the camp open. And there was a joint meeting of the chambers of commerce for Roscoe and Livingston Manor to address the economic losses small business would suffer without the campers. That got the county’s attention.

“The county said (to DEC), ‘What can we do to make this work?’ And that has made all the difference,” Janeway said.

It has made all the difference to Jim and Jane Burrell, who have been married for 44 years and coming to Beaverkill for 42 years of those years. Making the five-and-half-hour drive from Aurora to the Beaverkill has become a tradition, Jane said.

They said it was a small crisis when they received news that their reservations were cancelled. They had to tell their grandchildren they wouldn’t be going, and then watched them burst into tears.

But their reservations were restored and Jim and Jane were there Wednesday. Their grandchildren will arrive this weekend. The campground is booked to capacity.