WEST MILFORD As crowds flocked to the Jersey Shore during the hot Memorial Day weekend, it was a different story at one popular northern New Jersey aquatic attraction.
Normally, dozens of boats would head out onto Greenwood Lake in West Milford, helping the local businesses in the area. But this year they stayed away because the lake was about two feet below its usual depth.
That's due to a combination of factors. The Greenwood Lake Commission has performed a scheduled drawdown of the lake to allow property owners to repair docks and bulkheads. The lack of snow last winter and scant rain this spring worsened the situation.
"It's never happened before," Bill Link, co-owner of Moosehead Marina, told The Record of Woodland Park. Link said he gave his customers 15 percent discounts for the season to keep boaters from defecting. "We were still putting in docks last week," he added.
Link said normally about 130 boats would be in their slips for the holiday weekend. Only one had made it in by Sunday morning, he said.
The nine-mile lake stretches across the New York-New Jersey border and is a popular destination for residents of Bergen and Passaic counties.
The businesses that dot the shoreline - marinas, restaurants, delis and convenience stores - rely on summer traffic. On the unofficial kickoff to summer, they were left wanting, at least on the New Jersey side.
John Sanchez from Glen Rock counts Browns Point among his favorite spots to fish in West Milford. Along with Michael Williams, he was getting ready to cast his line just days after the Memorial Day holiday. He had no complaints about the fishing and thought maybe it could be related to less boats on the lake.
"There's less activity on the lake so they bite more," said Sanchez.
Some business owners criticized the lake commission for not ending the drawdown earlier. On the New York side of the lake, boaters were enjoying the lake without restriction.
Bob Sokoly of West Milford and son Drew reported that the New Jersey side had weeds and stumps that could wreak havoc on propellers.
"New York side is plenty deep. Jersey is shot," Bob Sokoly said.
The newspaper couldn't reach Ella Filippone, chairwoman of the Greenwood Lake Commission, for comment.