DEC considers planting over Broadalbin beach

The boat launch and beach area in North Broadalbin

The boat launch and beach area in North Broadalbin on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

BROADALBIN — The beachy remains of a long-time Broadalbin summer attraction could soon be a thing of the past.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has considered plans to repurpose the former site of Broadalbin Beach with plants to prevent swimming and hinder shoreline erosion from the Great Sacandaga Lake. They also plan to make the adjacent boat launch more accessible and uniform to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. 

Changes are up for public comment until Feb. 16. 

The shift is reprehensible to 68-year-old Mark Bohne, who first learned about it in January. He spent his teen years in the Great Sacandaga Lake area and has lived between Ohio and Broadalbin since 2014. 

“If you don’t own property on the lake or you don’t belong to a private beach or you don’t own a boat and you’re from Broadalbin, you don’t really have any access to the lake,” Bohne said. “And I think that’s wrong.”

Broadalbin Beach closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, unable to meet pandemic era requirements, and shuttered for good in 2022 when the town decided against entering into a new user agreement with DEC. 

“We do not own that land, the town does not own it and [DEC] put so many restrictions on it that it wasn’t feasible for the town,” said Town Clerk Cheryl Briggs. “You should ask the DEC why they wouldn’t run it as a beach themselves.” 

DEC requested the town bring on a site manager, open up grounds to non-residents and dole out $25,000 for beach policing, according to minutes from an April meeting. 

Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardano has reported drugs found in the 60-plus-year-old beach area — and in the 25-year-old boat launch area, illegally parked cars and rowdy drunk boaters. As far back as 2017, residents have reported syringes near the beach.

“[They’re] problematic for different reasons, okay?” Giardano said of the beach of boat launch. “And in both areas we’ve found needles, we’ve had some disorderly conduct and things, so that’s been problematic.”

In a sheriff’s report summary from 2020 to 2022 obtained by Bohne via Freedom of Information Request and reviewed by the Leader-Herald, deputies have reported a number of sightings deemed suspicious, including a pair eating Taco Bell food, a 30-year-old man acting “strange” and several beach fires. The list also shows three sightings of disorderly conduct — one of which resulted in an arrest — and numerous parking issues. 

Bohne requested incident DEC law enforcement records from Jan. 1, 2000 to Jan. 1, 2023. The agency told him that they would respond by March 3. 

“This does not surprise me,” Bohne wrote in an email. 

DEC in a draft management plan for the new proposal wrote that the land is “not readily viewed from the main road and presents challenges for regular patrolling and enforcement.” Such problems led DEC to gate to the beach in 2017. 

Continuing the site as a beach, the agency added, would also exacerbate parking problems onsite. 

“The juxtaposition of the boat launch site and the public beach has led to problems, as both sites are very popular, particularly during the summer months when the first-come, first-serve parking on each side fills to capacity and then extends onto the town road,” DEC stated. 

DEC took the waterfront from Hudson River-Black River Regulating District to DEC in 1989. From 2010 to 2019, the town struggled to keep the beach open following the end of a contract in which state regulators took over remaining parking spaces for the federally-supported boat access site. 

Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3749 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TylerAMcNeil

By Tyler A. McNeil

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