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For Release: Thursday, December 7, 2017

DEC Announces Plans For 'Gateway To The Adirondacks' Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian And Day Use Area

Public Information Meetings Planned for Dec. 11; Adirondack Park Agency Deems Permit Application Complete

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the release of plans for the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian, and Day Use Area, a new, accessible, public campground proposed at the site of the former Frontier Town theme park in the town of North Hudson, Essex County.

The plans for the campground are envisioned in the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub Master Plan to establish a "Gateway to the Adirondacks" that will link local and regional outdoor recreation experiences in the Adirondack Park, bolster tourism, and strengthen the North Country's regional economy. Earlier this year, Empire State Development (ESD) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop and operate a world-class tourism destination near the site, linking the concepts and principles proposed in the Master Plan and complementing DEC's recreational facilities. Responses to the RFP are currently under review, and additional projects anticipated by the Master Plan are expected to be announced early next year.

"Through Governor Cuomo's leadership, we are now one step closer to establishing an essential hub for tourism in the Adirondacks that will bolster economic development in the region by providing easy access to all of the Adirondack Park's recreational opportunities at one central site," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "The Gateway to the Adirondacks project is a cornerstone of the Governor's Adventure New York initiative, and the unique family-friendly campground unvieled today will provide an important launching pad for residents and visitors alike to explore the world class experiences the Adirondack Park has to offer. I commend our staff and our state and local partners for their strong efforts to develop this important asset."‎

In his 2017 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo announced the master plan to establish a Gateway to the Adirondacks at Exit 29 of the Northway in the town of North Hudson. In the heart of the Adirondacks, the Gateway site once hosted the Frontier Town theme park. New York State and the Open Space Institute, working in collaboration with five neighboring Adirondack towns, engaged the Chazen Companies to create a blueprint for a new recreation hub that would improve local amenities, expand access, and draw increased visitors to the park.

A key component of the master plan is a $13 million state investment through the NY Works program to develop a new DEC campground-including equestrian camping-and day-use area. The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) announced today that it has deemed DEC's application complete for the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area.

The DEC campground, equestrian campground, and two day-use areas will be constructed on approximately 91 acres of land owned by the town of North Hudson and Essex County. The facility will be operated according to the terms of a conservation easement and will be designed to complement the site's topography and natural features.

The campground area will serve as a launching-off point for outdoor exploration and adventure in this part of the Adirondack Park. The Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area trails will connect to the existing trail network along NYS Route 9 and part of the Schroon Lake-North Hudson Snowmobile trail network known as the "Ti to Co Line Trail." The trails will provide connectivity to the Hammond Pond Wild Forest to the east, the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest on the west, and the Palmer Pond Bridge connection on the west, leading to publicly owned lands, including the Boreas Ponds Tract (as contemplated in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Unit Management Plan Amendment) and Essex Chain Lakes Complex.

DEC encourages the public to attend one of the two initial public information sessions on the project on Dec. 11, 2017, at the Town of North Hudson Town Hall from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., and from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Office of General Services (OGS) Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "Governor Cuomo has committed to tourism as an economic driver throughout the State and we are thrilled that OGS will be a part of this extraordinary public/private partnership. When complete, this unique space at the Gateway to the Adirondacks will be the basis for cherished family experiences and memories for generations."

The new DEC campground, designed by C.T. Male Associates through a contract with OGS, will include 91 campsites to accommodate a range of camping experiences:

  • An equestrian camping area modeled after DEC's Otter Creek facility will provide space for 33 equestrian camping sites, including Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant features.
  • A recreational vehicle (RV) and trailer camping area with space for 13 RV and trailer camping sites. RV and trailer campsite pads will have electrical hookups and fireplaces, and water spigots will be conveniently located.
  • A tent camping area will include a total of 45 tent camping sites, including three group camping sites, two shower buildings, a playground and two pavilions. A minimum of 30 feet of existing vegetation buffer will be maintained between tent sites and all tent sites will be set back at least 30 feet from the top of the bank along the Schroon River so that they are not visible to recreational users of the river.
  • A parking area for all-season trail access will be located off Frontier Town Road near NYS Route 9, providing year round parking for 26 vehicles, including spots for 18 vehicles with snowmobile trailers, six for vehicles only, and two for accessible vehicles.
  • A seasonal day use area will be located along the shoreline of the Schroon River with 34 parking space.
  • The entrance ticket booth will utilize solar energy to support part of the ticketing operations, and amenities for staff will also be provided.

For details and renderings, visit DEC's website. DEC has also completed a preliminary or "pre-filed" Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub site which has been submitted in lieu of a full Environmental Assessment Form. By doing so, DEC is providing this detailed setting and project information as well as a reasoned analysis upfront.

Pending approval of the APA permit application, DEC anticipates site work will begin in February 2018. The all-season day-use area is expected to be open in Fall 2018, and it is anticipated that the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area will be fully operational by Summer 2019. OGS anticipates advertising projects prior to the end of the year and information will be available in the Contract Reporter and both OGS and DEC websites.

Randy Preston, representing Essex County as the Chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, said, "Essex County is proud to be a supporting partner with NYSDEC and the Town of North Hudson moving forward with Governor Cuomo's vision and support of establishing a DEC campground and equestrian facility at Exit 29 in the Town of North Hudson. This is the beginning of a new and exciting phase of opening Essex County and the Adirondacks for the use and enjoyment of all New Yorkers, and we look forward to the continuing development of this great project."

Ron Moore, Town of North Hudson Supervisor, said, "This is wonderful news for the Town of North Hudson and Essex County. After Frontier Town closed almost 20 years ago, our town has seen one business after another close their doors and jobs lost. After months of hard work and many meetings, a Master Conceptual Plan was developed and presented to the Governor. Once again through his vision and commitment to improving our economy here in the Adirondack Park and the lives of the people who live here, we will see a resurrection of the former Frontier Town property, creating new businesses and jobs for our people in North Hudson and the surrounding area. As we celebrate this announcement and a new beginning for our town, I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for making the Gateway to the Adirondacks at Exit 29 a reality. I would also like to thank the many people, without whose dedication hard work and belief in this project, it would not have been possible: DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and his great staff, the Open Space Institute and Paradox Brewery. I am truly elated beyond words and cannot wait for the shovels to be put in the ground."

"OSI is proud to have played an early, pivotal role in taking this transformative project from an abstract idea to concrete plans. This exciting plan will improve public access, expand recreational opportunities and support local economies in the heart of the Adirondacks," said Kim Elliman, OSI's president and CEO. "OSI's involvement builds on 25 years of land conservation in the Adirondacks, during which we have protected more than 28,000 acres to support the region's invaluable cultural and natural heritage."

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