County continues to run state-owned boat launch in Carlton
CARLTON Three years ago, then-Gov. David Paterson took the budget ax to 41 parks and 14 historic sites under state ownership, shutting them down.
The Oak Orchard Marine State Park, a boat launch and bathrooms on the west side of the Oak Orchard River was targeted to be closed by the state.
Orleans County officials wouldn’t let that happen. They worked out a deal to keep the site on Archibald Road open, paying to mow the lawn, clean the bathrooms and look after the property.
County officials estimated there are about 7,000 boat launches from the site each year. The county has continued as the site’s caretaker since then, spending about $10,000 to $20,000 a year to keep the boat launch open and the bathrooms clean.
The willingness to assume keep the state site open shows the county’s commitment to the fishing industry, its top tourism attraction, which generates about $12 million in spending a year. A chunk of that goes to the state in sales tax revenue and fishing license fees.
The state’s budget crisis has passed and I think it’s time for the state to resume operations of this site.
I’ve been told a deal is in the works. It may include an automated machine that would allow the state to collect money every time a boat is launched. The county has been letting people use it for free, not wanting to pay someone to man a booth to collect a boat launch fee.
I give the county lots of credit for stepping up in this situation. Now, the state should take care of its own property, or at least cover the county’s costs.