Save Oakland Valley Campground

My husband Andy and I purchased Oakland Valley Campground in July 2016 after two years of unemployment and struggling to care for our family. OVC has been in operation since the early 1970's and is loved by many as a favorite vacation spot--a place of peace and serenity, a second home during the summer months--and my personal refuge. It was a blessing to be able to call myself "business owner", and to call my husband my business partner. OVC encompasses 52 acres with 2000 ft along the Neversink River. Of the 115 campsites on our property, over 60 of them are located on the river level.
On January 16th, 2018, we discovered an ice jam had formed at the southern point of our property in the Neversink. The week prior had seen temperatures of -5 degrees F. On January 12th, the temperature shot up to over 55 degrees. The river that had been completely frozen had thawed rapidly and huge slabs of ice started flowing down stream. That is, until it reached our neck of the woods. At a very narrow point, ice and trees that had fallen into the river created a dam. Slabs of ice, more than 12 inches thick, in chunks ranging the size of a chair to as long as a van had piled up, one on top of another until a wall of ice over 10 feet high was created. As a result, the slabs that continued to come had nowhere to go except onto our property. As the ice raked across the land, it ripped out water lines, crushed picnic tables, swept away campfire rings and destroyed the landscape. Our most popular sites along the river and at the southernmost point have been reduced to a pile of rocks. The grass is gone, the soil is gone, and the road is gone.
Then came the rain. With the wall of ice in it's path, the river had no where to go. It took a left turn and cut through our most popular sites! These are the sites that get booked every single weekend of the season.
The insurance company is calling it a flood and saying we are not covered. Additionally, they say they only cover buildings and not land.
The ice is far from melted, but we are estimating repairs to cost $60,000-$80,000 if we had to pay for equipment and labor. However, since we are blessed to have many friends and family who are willing to help us with this arduous task, we can roughly estimate the equipment, tools and supplies to cost $30,000-$40,000. We need new picnic tables, campfire rings, waterlines, couplings, clamps, spigots, and some electrical repairs. The leech field from the bathhouse has been ripped away. For this we will need clean fill. The campsites that are now all rocks will need to be cleared and covered to accomadate tents once again. The road that recently had the river flowing down it, is now a rocky mess. That will require clean-up, leveling and Item 4 material.
It is still hard to know exactly how many repairs need to be done and how long it will take. The amount of debris that was brought in off the river is astounding. It could take us weeks just to pick up all the garbage, trees, and limbs left behind.
We are asking for help in any form. We plan to start clean-up in March and would appreciate volunteers. We can start purchasing equipment and supplies now with any funds received as donations. Every dollars counts. This would allow us more time in the warmer weather to focus on actual clean-up activities.
Ten years ago, I never would have guessed that we would own our own business, and certainly not that it would be a campground. But I love my job, and most of all, I love the family I found here at Oakland Valley Campground. This place needs to be saved for them, more than it needs to be saved for me and my family.
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Kristi Finnigan
Cuddebackville, NY

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