By CARLA KOLBE
For the Recorder
The Great Sacandaga Lake was within inches of cresting over the Conklingville Dam spillway Wednesday morning, reaching reached 770.2 feet at 9:30 a.m. The spillway crest is at 771 feet.
According to Hudson River-Black River Regulating District Chief Engineer Robert Foltan, minimal releases have been made in accordance with the Agreement of Settlement, but the flash flood storms and heavy rainfall is far exceeding the regular intake of runoff water entering the lake.
Foltan believes the lake may settle in just below the spillway if conditions remain steady, but noted he cannot control nor predict the weather.
Water cresting over the spillway is not uncommon. It peaked over 771 feet in 2000, 2003, 2004; twice in 2006 on June 5 and June 30, causing problems the July 4 holiday that year. It went over again in 2008, and on May 1, 2011, it crested at 774.47 feet.
Thankfully, the high lake level is really just a nuisance for GSL residents and visitors, and does not pose a real danger. Most of the lake's beaches, shoreline and islands are under water. Accessibility to the lake may be unattainable in some low-lying areas.
The timing of the high water could not be worse with summer's biggest lake holiday on tap this weekend.
Highway Supervisor Mel Dopp said Wednesday the Mayfield Town Beach was closed because the road getting to it was under water. The Northville/Northampton beach was under water, with its beach houses submerged.
According to Dave Winchell of the state Department of Environmental Conservation Public Affairs, 40 campsites along the shore of the lake are closed because they are flooded. The beach is also flooded. The day use area is open but the beach was closed as of Wednesday. At the time, none of the campsites that were flooded were reserved so all campers have been accommodated.
Foltan did say the water goes down quickly this time of year, and scheduled releases will continue.
It is advised that caution be used when boating and using the lake for recreational activities. The high water level has cause much debris to once again be floating about.