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Adventure NY Infrastructure Improvements

DEC's Adventure NY initiative was launched in 2017 to connect more New York families and visitors to the great outdoors.
To provide for an even better user experience, DEC is making investments to improve public access to state land and water, upgrade campgrounds and facilities, and increase public awareness and information of all the outdoor recreation opportunities available in New York State.

Learn more about Adventure NY programs offered across New York.

Watch a clip about recent investments in outdoor recreation and check out other clips on DEC's YouTube Channel.

Access Improvements at Carpenter Falls Unique Area

accessible observation platform at Carpenter Falls Unique Area

DEC completed a $1.27-million project to improve public access at Carpenter Falls Unique Area in the town of Niles, Cayuga County. Carpenter Falls Unique Area contains dramatic steep terrain and waterfalls and the improvements includes enhancements to ensure safe and convenient access to the sites' popular waterfalls. Improvements include:

  • A new on-site paved parking lot for 20 single vehicles, including accessible spaces
  • A bicycle rack to accommodate cyclists
  • Accessible toilet facilities with a screened enclosure near the parking area
  • A new elevated boardwalk, leading 630 feet from the parking area to an observation platform, accessible to people with mobility impairments
  • An accessible observation platform where visitors can enjoy a view of the 90-foot-tall Upper Carpenter Falls
  • A new trail with stone steps to safely guide hikers down a steep ravine to view Upper Carpenter Falls from a unique, stream-level vantage.

ADA Compliant Fishing Access Site in Lewis County

An ADA compliant Black River at Deer River Fishing Access Site in the town of Denmark, Lewis County. Improvements at the Black River at Deer River Fishing Access Site include a gravel parking area with ADA-compliant accessible parking spaces and an accessible single-lane gravel boat launch near the confluence of the Deer and Black rivers. The parking lot includes one standard space and a space for vehicles with trailers. An additional three-vehicle parking area near the joining of the rivers can be used for launching car-top vessels. The site also features an additional 10 parking spaces for vehicles with trailers.

Accessible Trail at Stony Kill Farm Restored

An accessible trail at Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center in Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County was restored and improved thanks to a collaborative effort to make the trail more accessible to people of all ages and abilities. The Woodland Trail was destroyed by a storm in May 2018. This month marked completion of phase one of the project. Phase two, planned for 2022, includes installing interpretive signage and benches.

Accessibility and Sustainability Improvements at North-South Lake Campground

North-South Lake Campground and Day Use Area in the Catskills has been an outdoor escape for more than 80 years, and new improvements will increase recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. DEC designed and constructed significant infrastructure improvements at the North Lake Beach area with a focus on enhancing accessibility and sustainability:

  • An accessible fishing platform

  • New picnic tables and grills

  • 400 feet of sidewalks along the beach, including a ramp to the beach and boardwalk to the water

  • Pavilion with a Nature Recreation Program area

  • A solar cell phone charging station

  • 500 tons of new beach sand

  • A new information kiosk and pollinator garden at the entrance booth

  • And more!

Check out photos of these improvements on Flickr, then make a reservation by visiting New York's Reserve America website.

Improvements at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskills Visitor Center

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced in June 2018 the official opening of the new outdoor pavilion at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Visitor Center (CVC). Located in Ulster County, the CVC serves as a gateway for outdoor adventurists to learn about the Catskill Park. The newly constructed outdoor pavilion has a picnicking location, venue for educational programs, and a place for groups to meet and begin their Catskill adventures.

In October 2019, the new Upper Esopus Fire Tower was completed and opened to the public. The fire tower offers a view of the Upper Esopus Valley and allows visitors to see and experience a fire tower without undertaking a challenging hike. Find your next Catskill Adventure, and don't forget to check out the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskills Visitor Center website.

Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area

Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area ribbon cutting

The Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area is now open and will serve as a launching off point for outdoor exploration and adventure within the Five Towns region of the Adirondack Park. DEC and partners celebrated the completion of the construction of the new campground in the town of North Hudson at a special event in June 2019. It is a signature piece of the "Gateway to the Adirondacks" tourism hub. North Hudson is a prime location to start exploring all that the Adirondacks has to offer. Campers can book reservations at the state's newest campground now through ReserveAmerica.

Sustainable Trail Open at Mt. Van Hoevenberg

Mt. Van Hoevenberg ribbon cutting

The newest trail in the Adirondacks, the Mt. Van Hoevenberg East Trail, is open to public use. This family-friendly trail is part of DEC's multi-year, comprehensive effort to promote sustainable tourism and address public safety in the Adirondacks. The trailhead is located at the Olympic Sports Complex (leaves DEC website) in the Town of North Elba and is 1.7 miles long, climbing 920 feet to the 2,940-foot summit of Mt. Van Hoevenberg. The trail was designed and built to withstand heavier use with little impact to the trail and offers a view of the High Peaks, exceeding the view from the summit of Cascade Mountain, including the Great Range, Mt. Marcy, Algonquin and more. Check out these other great Adirondack day hikes outside the High Peaks.

Access Road and Playground Completed at Ausable Point Campground

Ausable Point Campground playground

A playground and paved road have been completed at the Ausable Point Campground in Clinton County. The new natural wood "Bears" playground is designed for children ages 5-12 and includes slides, bridges, climbing walls, a nearby swing set, and bouncy rides surrounded by a soft, woodchip covered surface. Ausable Point Campground features 123 campsites along the shores of Lake Champlain.

Outdoor Pavilion at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center

New Outdoor Pavillion at the Catskill Interpretive Center

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announced in June 2018 the official opening of the new outdoor pavilion at the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center (CIC). Located in Ulster County, the CIC serves as a gateway for outdoor adventurists to learn about the Catskill Park. The newly constructed outdoor pavilion has a picnicking location, venue for educational programs, and a place for groups to meet and begin their Catskill adventures. The next phase of improvements includes installing new exhibits and a fire tower in 2019. Learn more about the improvements and future plans, including renderings. Find your next Catskill Adventure, and don't forget to check out the Maurice D. Hincey Catskill Interpretive Center (leaves DEC website).

Pharsalia Woods State Forest Improvements

Pharsalia Woods ribbon cutting

DEC completed $50,000 in improvements in Pharsalia Woods State Forest where a 150-foot accessible boardwalk (pictured) leads visitors from an accessible parking lot to an impressive, accessible viewing platform. Bullthistle Hiking Club also developed a 1.5-mile trail near Round Pond and the viewing platform.

Mt. Loretto Unique Area Improvements

Mt. Loretto Unique Area new pavillion

Mt. Loretto Unique Area on the southern shore of Staten Island provides nature lovers with more than 200 acres of forest, grasslands, wetlands, and coastal shoreline to enjoy. These habitats make it a beautiful area to take a walk or go paddling or fishing, and one of the best places to spot migrating birds in the area. Through Adventure NY, DEC completed $1.5 million in improvements, including universally accessible roads, wildlife viewing platforms, and a pavilion.

Elm Ridge Wild Forest Trails Expansion

ribbon cutting at elm ridge wild forest trails

The public has more than 25 miles of multi-use trails to explore in the Elm Ridge Wild Forest in the town of Windham, Greene County. This is the most comprehensive multi-use trail system for mountain biking in the Catskills, making the Windham area a mountain-biking destination. The trails were made possible through a partnership between the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the Windham Area Recreation Foundation (WARF), and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). DEC also plans to improve and enlarge Elm Ridge parking area on route 23 to accommodate up to 45 vehicles.

Accessible Trail, Boardwalks, and Viewing Platform at Willie Wildlife Interpretive Trail

Willie Wildlife Interpretive Trail ribbon cutting

A wheelchair-accessible trail, boardwalk, and wildlife viewing platform completed at Willie Wildlife Marsh Interpretive trail in Peck Hill State Forest, town of Johnstown, Fulton County. The project included replacement of three boardwalks totaling 600', a new 0.4-mile wheelchair-accessible trail leading to an accessible viewing platform and picnic area, and rehabilitation of the surrounding 1.5-mile foot trail. All three boardwalks, which provide scenic views of the marsh, were built higher off the water to eliminate any threat of future flooding.

Wildlife Viewing Tower at Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area

new wildlife viewing tower at utica marsh

A wildlife tower at Utica Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Utica, Oneida County was completed to provide the public with a bird's eye view of the abundant wildlife and encourage residents to experience the outdoors. Along with the tower, rehabilitation of the one-mile trail, including the removal of several structures, created a secondary overlook/observation area, formalized the new kiosk access and added interpretive signage at Utica Marsh WMA.

ADA-accessible Boathouse, Upgraded Bathhouses, and Energy Efficient Lighting at North/South Lake Campground

New boathouse at North/South Lake ribbon cutting

An accessible boathouse was built at South Lake, which includes a new sidewalk to the building and an accessible walkway leading to an accessible canoe/kayak launch system. In addition to the 28 canoes, 27 kayaks, and 7 row boats available for rent, DEC purchased four new stand up paddleboards. These improvements will allow people of all abilities the opportunity to launch boats at the lake and enjoy the campground from an entirely new perspective.

Nearly half of the bathroom/shower buildings in the campground underwent tile replacements. The campground's lighting was upgraded to energy efficient LED fixtures that will significantly reduce electricity costs. DEC also upgraded the ticket booth, including a new exterior counter, interior cabinets, restored siding and new windows. In addition, more than 400 tons of sand were brought in to reclaim and improve the South Lake beach area. New kitchen floors and countertops were added to the caretaker cabin, and new culverts are being replaced throughout the campground.

Grand Opening of New Visitor Center at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and Launch of Adventure NY

Five Rivers Environmental Education Center ribbon cutting

New green features of the center include green building materials, wood harvested from onsite trees, green roof, solar photovoltaic system, geothermal heating/cooling system, operable windows and roof vents, low flow toilets, LED lighting and motion detection capabilities, and rain water collection and gray water system. The new center offers hands-on exhibits and displays that use the senses of sight, sound, smell and touch, which are appropriate to persons with special needs. An electric scooter is available for use on accessible trails for persons with limited mobility, as is a brand new "freedom chair" that is specifically designed for trail use. A donated manual wheel chair will be available for use at the facility. Braille, large print and audio format guides for each trail continue to be available for loan.

The new building at Five Rivers replaces the old visitor center, which was originally a cafeteria at the Albany State Office Building Campus. Joined together by an outdoor classroom, the new center is adjacent to the Wendy Repass Suozzo Guided School Program building. It was built by DEC staff with state capital funding and support from the Repass family in collaboration with the Friends of Five Rivers and the Natural Heritage Trust.

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