Half price off, Bridgton, for a piece of heaven

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

There’s a hot deal going on at what some say is the best-kept secret in Bridgton. Five vacant sites are up for grabs at half price for the rest of the summer, at the Salmon Point Campground on Long Lake.

Two of the sites are on the lagoon, and the other three are farther back from the water. The lagoon sites, which usually go for around $2,100, will be offered at around $1,100; the other three sites will be offered at less than $1,000, or half of the average $1,900 lease rate (exact discounted cost to be determined).

Considering that Salmon Point’s season rates are already well below, perhaps by 40%, those of other Lake Region private campgrounds, the bargain appears all the more appealing. Those locals who would never think they could afford such a stay, if they act fast, just might.

There’s just one catch, however — the deal is only good if you’re a Bridgton resident.

Bridgton Selectmen decided Tuesday to offer the 50% discount for Bridgton residents as an incentive to bring the 51-site town-owned campground up to full occupancy. Selectman Paul Hoyt, who has leased a site at the campground for years, said there usually aren’t any vacancies at this time, and suggested the board actively market the sites by placing an ad in The Bridgton News.

“In the past we’ve never had to worry about advertising,” Hoyt said.

Selectman Bob McHatton did him one better by suggesting the half-price discount for Bridgton residents. There was some debate over the degree of discount, and Hoyt thought half-off was a bit over-generous, considering that there are still a full seven weeks left until Labor Day, and that the campground doesn’t officially close until Oct. 1.

Town Manager Mitch Berkowitz suggested a pro-rated discount, based on the remaining available weeks. But the board opted instead to go with McHatton’s offer.

The marketing proposal arose as the board prepared to look over a comparison of the campground’s fees with those of the successful Winslow Park Campground in Freeport, as suggested by Selectman Bernie King. McHatton said the discussion merited holding a separate workshop, and the board agreed to hold the workshop on Tuesday, July 30, at 6 p.m.

A seasonal camper at Salmon Point, Charlie Record, attended Tuesday’s meeting to caution the board not to compare Salmon Point Campground rates too closely with other campgrounds because it does not have any amenities, such as a recreation hall or store. “If I want to buy ice, I have to go uptown to get it. To say we have to pay the same price (as private campgrounds) is ridiculous,” Record said.

Berkowitz said there was a bit of irony in limiting the site rental discount deal to only Bridgton residents. “In a way, what you’re doing is imposing a local preference,” he said, referring to discussion earlier in the meeting (See story, this issue). But he added that campground sites are quite different than permanent residences; in fact, Freeport gives discounts to its residents for day passes.

Anyone interested in leasing the vacant sites should call the campground office at 647-5229.


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