Drought water levels affects late summer recreation

Lake levels affecting boating safety and sales.


The drought this summer has affected seasonal business owners such as outdoor sports camps from maximizing equipment rental profits which help sustain business owners throughout the winter.

John Rice, the owner of Castle Island Camps in Belgrade said the low lake levels have prevented him from renting out the maximum number of boats, because some tourists who are not familiar with the lake are damaging the boats and propellers by running into rocks that are closer to the surface.

“They’re used to going to a certain spot, and when they start motoring in there, the rocks that they used to miss – they may connect with,” said Rice. “At 80 to 100 bucks a piece, I’m leaving them on because I know a new one may be ruined the next day.”

Rice said the level at Long Pond has been dropping about a half-inch each day in August due to the drought. He said he has had to refuse rentals due to the low levels.

“It bothers us because we do know we’re taking away somebody’s experience. When you tell a guy who’s looked forward all year, coming up, they’ve got a cabin, they wanted to rent a boat and we said ‘we’re sorry we’re not renting boats this week, we took away that person’s experience," said Rice.

But not renting equipment also hurts his finances. He relies on just four-and-a-half months of profits during the summer to carry him through the winter.

“We rented four boats, not 12 boats, and I could have rented them all," said Rice. “They enjoy the boating this time of year, and this year I just don’t think that’s going to be as available to them.”

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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