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February 23, 2009

DEC Closes Poko-O-Moonshine Campground for 2009 season

KEESEVILLE — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is shutting down the Poke-O-Moonshine campground.



In a news release Friday afternoon, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis announced that the DEC will not reopen six campgrounds in the Adirondack and Catskill parks in 2009.



"As Governor (David) Paterson has made clear, New York is facing a large budget deficit and must make many hard choices," Grannis said in the release. "Closing these facilities for the 2009 season is one such hard choice, but is one that is necessary in these rough economic times."



Poke-O-Moonshine had an occupancy rate of 8 percent or less over the last two years, according to the release.



"From a small campground, 8 percent is a really low number," said Keeseville resident Jim Armstrong.



Like Armstrong, most local residents decried the loss of the campground.



"I think there will certainly be an effect economically," Keeseville Village Board member Mary King said. "(Tourists) would use Keeseville as their place for groceries and gas.



"That was a great place for people. A great family place."



But she admitted to not visiting there for some time — especially after there were some changes in the 1960s.



"There was two sides to the campground. One was on the other side of the road," she said. "That one was very nice, sunny and bright. They closed that one.



"But, the campground was very cool and shady. Mosquitoes were all over. When you have kids, you can understand why we didn't stay there."



Through those years, and until 1985, Lloyd Bressette of Keeseville was caretaker of the property. Though he died a year after retiring, his descendants have fond memories of growing up on the campground.



"We used to go there every summer," said his daughter Evelyn Bracken, of Keeseville. "We had a barbecue every Sunday and lots of fires."

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