NORTH CREEK - The Johnsburg Town Council passed a resolution Tuesday to once again allow camping at Ski Bowl Park during White Water Derby Weekend April 30 - May 2.
Camping was banned at the park during derby weekend several years ago after patrons staying at the venue began to get out of hand. Five years ago, the town of Johnsburg lost a historic ski building in a fire started by campers at Ski Bowl Park during White Water Weekend. Their were also several health emergencies due to underage drinking and drug use on the property.
The town council in cooperation with the Ski Bowl Park Committee will allow for camping only on Saturday night of White Water Weekend and only around the pond in the lower part of the park. A strict set of rules is still being developed by the Ski Bowl Park and White Water Derby Committees as well as a camping permit that all groups must purchase.
The local Cub Scout troop will be running the campsite and benefiting form the profits.
The town council admitted that allowing camping again is an experiment and "all involved will certainly learn from the experience."
Town Supervisor, Sterling Goodspeed expressed his concern that history may repeat itself.
"Allowing camping again makes me nervous," he said. "There is a lot more equipment at the Ski Bowl Park now and we can't afford for it to be damaged if things get out of control again."
Warren County Sheriffs and State Police have already been contacted about patrolling the area throughout the weekend.
"We are going to take baby steps and see what happens," said Gore Mountain Chamber president Dave Bulmer. "If we take it slow, we may be able to prevent the problems we experienced before."
Both fires and alcohol will be banned from the campsites and rules will be strictly enforced.
"We are grateful for the council for giving us Saturday night," said White Water Derby Committee leader Katie Nightingale. "We are looking forward to having a chance to try it out."