State and local officials are marking the completion of the first phase of a long-awaited project intended to create a new gateway to the southern Adirondack region.
In his January 2017 State of the State address, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to create a tourism hub at Exit 29 of the Adirondack Northway in North Hudson at the long closed Frontier Town. Days later, he was in Plattsburgh to describe the proposal. “We want to build a Gateway to the Adirondacks. $32 million to redevelop the existing property as a multi-use facility: camping, access to Schroon Lake, dining, lodging, hiking, preserve the history of Frontier Town, but really build a new gateway facility to the Adirondacks.”
The Department of Environmental Conservation is constructing and will operate campgrounds on 91 acres of the former theme park property. Officials gathered recently to celebrate completion of Phase One, which includes an equestrian camping area, a seasonal day-use area along the Schroon River, staff facilities and parking for trail access.
Town of North Hudson Supervisor Ron Moore expects a number of jobs to result from the state’s work and from a new brewery being built adjacent to the site. “If you couple that with the numbers of recreational activities that we’re going to have, biking, mountain biking, kayaking, tubing, horseback riding and then your typical hiking and so on and so forth, and we’re 7 miles from the Boreas Ponds Tract. Having that array of activities I think will pull some people off of more highly used areas. It will result in new business growth.”
Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism President James McKenna believes the state’s work will significantly benefit the region. “The state has moved quite quickly on it and they seem to have it on their radar screen for completion next year. And it’s very valuable because it’s located right off the Northway number one. Number two it’s identifying some areas where we’ve seen some real need for advancements, certainly camping, certainly horseback riding and other things. But the fact that it will have such access to a large number of people, I-87 or the Adirondack Northway is the main feeder for you know the New York metropolitan area, the Capital Region and beyond, and this should serve as a good location to help diversify where all our hikers are going presently.”
Phase Two of the project will include creation of recreational vehicle and tent campsites. According to the governor’s office, in 2017 more than 12 million people visited the Adirondacks, an increase of nearly 20 percent since 2011.