The lake at Kenneth L. Wilson State Campground was among the area’s popular swimming spots until aquatic vegetation proliferated, the lake bottom rose due to silting, and the droppings of Canada geese made conditions unsanitary. The state closed the swimming area in 2004 but has continued to maintain 76 camping sites, along with canoe and kayak rentals, a picnic area, and hiking trails.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is making plans to update the park’s facilities, including possible recovery of the swimming beach, which once accommodated 350 to 500 swimmers per season. As the DEC evaluates the improvements under consideration, public input will be solicited and information provided at an open house on Thursday, July 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the pavilion near the Wilson parking lot. Comments may also be submitted to DEC by mail or email.
The campground is located on Wittenberg Road, six miles west of the hamlet of Woodstock and eight miles east of Phoenicia. The facility was officially opened in 1979, on land once used for dairy and mink farming, according to DEC research. The site offers mountain views on every side of the seven-acre lake resulting from the damming of the Little Beaverkill, which flows alongside the camping area.
An updated Draft Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the campground is now available for public review and can be accessed through the DEC website at https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/24472.html.
In addition to studying the practicality of restoring swimming, the plan proposes upgrades such as a new picnic pavilion, a fishing pier and viewing walkway, a new dock with canoe/kayak launch, rehabilitation of bathrooms in camping areas, a multiple-use trail system, and a dog walking area. All facilities will be universally accessible.
“The public is crucial in helping us guide the future management of our campgrounds and properties, like this popular Catskills location,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “We invite the public to submit input on this draft plan, which over the next 10 years will guide the management of this campground and lay the foundation for improving visitor access and recreational experiences.”
DEC staff will answer questions, provide information about the campground and its history and recreational use, and accept public comments on the draft UMP at an open house on Thursday, July 14, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the pavilion at Kenneth L. Wilson Campground Pavilion, 859 Wittenberg Road, Mount Tremper. Comments may also be submitted to DEC by mail to NYS DEC Bureau of Recreation, 625 Broadway Albany NY 12233-5253, or by email to email@example.com. All comments must be received by July 30, 2016.