The Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) in will sponsor its second Guide Boat Regatta Sept. 7. People who own one of the classic Adirondack boats, along with those who want to learn more about them, are invited to the event.
One of the centerpieces for the day will be “Beaver,” a guide boat that was in use during the property’s days as a Great Camp. The Beaver returned to Newcomb this summer after an absence of more than 70 years.
Last year, some 40 people gathered at the center with their guide boats for the first regatta, a day of programming about the craft’s historic role in Adirondack history, and most importantly, a day of rowing on Rich Lake.
“Everybody loves guide boats. They are literally an icon of the Adirondacks,” said Paul Hai, program coordinator for the Northern Forest Institute.
The Beaver was constructed in 1902 by Warren Cole, a highly regarded boat builder from nearby Long Lake. The boat was purchased by Anna and Archer Huntington, who owned Arbutus Great Camp in Newcomb and later donated the property for use by ESF.
Hai learned about the boat two years ago when a colleague at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake learned a boat collector had the Beaver and was considering selling it. Hai’s associate at the museum saw the owner’s photos and knew the plates bearing the names “Beaver” and “Arbutus 8” marked the boat as part of the Huntingtons’ original fleet.
The owner agreed to sell the boat to the college, in part, because he wanted the craft to be used for educational purposes.
“The owner was excited about the kinds of work we are doing,” Hai said. “We wanted to use the guide boat for education, for putting people on the lake; to be able to teach them about not just boat design and this great cultural artifact but also to teach them about lake ecology and the human history here, forestry, wildlife management, all these things we’re so involved with here at the college.”
Before the boat was launched this summer, restoration work was done on it by Mason Smith of Long Lake. Beaver will now serve as the flagship of a small fleet of guide boats used for educational purposes by the interpretive center. The program will give members of the public a rare opportunity to see, touch and ride in an authentic guide boat.
Anyone wishing to participate in the regatta should gather at 11 a.m. at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s (ESF) Rich Lake Access off Rich Lake Lane. Participants are asked to call the AIC at 518-582-2000 or email [email protected] especially if they are planning to bring a boat. ESF operates the interpretive center under the auspices of the college’s Northern Forest Institute.
Photo: Adirondack guides and their boats at Rocky Point Inn, 4th Lake. Courtesy Town of Webb Historical Association.