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Lack Of Winter Snow, Dry Spring Create Depressing Times At Orange County Lake

Economy Of Greenwood Lake Relies On The Water; Right Now, There Isn't Much
Greenwood Lake

This is what’s left of Greenwood Lake after a basically snow-less winter and, so far, a very dry spring have dried up all the streams that would have filled this Orange County favorite. (Photo: CBS 2)

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GREENWOOD LAKE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A large lake on the New York-New Jersey border is not quite as big as it should be. A mild winter and dry spring have conspired to leave an entire tourist industry high and dry along Greenwood Lake.

The sun glistens off a mountain lake, but this year it’s just a tease.

“We just can’t get our boats in. What are ya gonna do?” resident Ronald Finnegan said.

Canoes were seen crossing a mud flat, near stranded powerboats and useless docks that litter the wide, rock-strewn shore.

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen it like this,” resident Veronica Avery said.

Straddling the state border, Greenwood Lake is waiting for rain. It is still looking like it did mid-winter when water management authorities intentionally allowed the level to drop.

“With the dry conditions all the streams have virtually stopped flowing into the lake,” resident Steve DeFeo said.

Drawing down the lake every few years is supposed to be a good thing to allow the maintenance of docks along the shoreline, some dredging and weed control but this year Mother Nature fooled everybody. There was no snowmelt and very little rainfall and as a result a whole lot less lake.

And in this beautiful weather, a time of year when ice should be melting, people are already in a summer state of mind, wondering where the water is and when it’ll come back.

“We’re hoping this year we can get a summer pass and swim. We went all the way down there to take a look, didn’t we? It was sand all the way out,” resident Jody Moncino said.

“This is a lake that drives the economy. Without the lake our businesses will not survive,” Greenwood Lake trustee Jesse Dwyer said.

And it will stay that way until the rains come. The boat business is on hold. Restaurants are waiting for the crowds — a season that needs more than sunshine before it can begin.

The experts said it’ll take the equivalent of two large rainstorms or one hurricane to get the lake to its usual levels.

Ironically, Greenwood Lake experienced flooding back in September when the remnants of Hurricane Irene passed through.

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