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Area state parks report increase in visitors for Memorial Day weekend

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MASSENA - Camping and Memorial Day weekend go hand and hand for many families, and local campgrounds were busy Friday on the first weekend of the 2014 summer season.

Many of the campers at Coles Creek in the town of Waddington were from St. Lawrence County, and many of them said the campground is a frequent camping spot for long weekends.

“We do this every year and this will be the 12th year. We always come to Coles Creek for Memorial Day weekend,” Angela Smith, Massena, said. “Usually we have lots of fires and make s’mores, ride our bikes all day, walk a lot and go around and visit friends. There’s a lot of people that we know here.”

With spring weather making its presence known lately and Memorial Day on the horizon, families were scurrying to local campgrounds Friday.

Parks in Brasher Falls, Massena and Waddington are already reporting being filled to capacity and are expecting that trend to last through the holiday weekend.

“We’re already full. The last four years we’ve definitely been full for Memorial Day. They started coming in on Thursday because there is no school in the surrounding districts. Friday is our busiest day though. The majority of them leave on Monday,” Robert Moses State Park (Massena) Manager Chris Williams said.

“I would say that Memorial Day and the 4th of July we’re always going to be full. (This weekend) was booked up early. We were pretty much all out of electric sites one month ago. It was in April when we knew we were going to be busy.”

Similarities are being noticed at the Jelly Beans Riverside Campgrounds in Brasher Falls.

“We’re already booked. I filled the last one on Monday. I had a cancellation and that was the only reason I was able to fill it,” co-owner Dennis Burnham said.

Mr. Burnham, who owns the facility with his wife, Rosemarie Burnham, said that three of the land’s six cabins were already occupied as of Friday afternoon.

“Most of them come in Friday night. On Monday they start to clear out,” he said.

Coles Creek State Park (Waddington) Office Manager Loretta Castagnier said that her location is expected to be maxed out with visitors by Saturday.

“We’re expecting a full house, and we already have a few in here right now. I think we will be full by (Saturday.) We had quite a few (Thursday) night and Friday is usually our very busy day,” Ms. Castagnier said. “Most of them will move out Monday morning but some will stay another day. It is pretty much the same busy weekend every year.”

A Malone man said his family has made spending the holiday weekend at the campground a tradition. “We come here every year for Memorial Day weekend. This place is booked probably about a month and a half before Memorial Day every year,” Ed Pritchard said. “We’ve got the same group of people that have been coming here for the last three years, and it’s a blast here. We come here, and it’s all about the kids. The kids go around, they have fun and they do what they want to do and the adults get to party, roller blade, ride bikes and fish.”

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