Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Whiteface Seeks Changes To Porcupine Lodge

Early Whiteface Mountain Trail MapThe Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) are seeking public comments about a proposal from the Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) to renovate and expand Porcupine Lodge on Lookout Mountain at the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area.

The lodge is located in an Adirondack Sub-alpine Forest Bird Conservation Area a short distance from the top lift terminal of the newly developed Lookout Mountain Triple Chairlift.  Public comments are being accepted until October 22, 2015

Porcupine Lodge was built as a snack bar and warming hut in 1949 as part of New York State’s Whiteface Mountain Ski Area. Built on the northern shoulder of Whiteface, also known as Marble Mountain, the ski area was poorly sited and closed in the 1960s following the development of a second state ski area at the current location of Whiteface Mountain Ski Area Base Lodge beginning in 1958. The Porcupine Lodge was used in the 1970s and 80s by the SUNY Atmospheric Science and Research Center (the old Marble Mountain Main Lodge currently serves as their base of operations).  It has been more recently used as a Ski Patrol Outpost.

Porcupine Lodge InteriorPorcupine Lodge is a 50 x 20-foot enclosed wood-frame building.  ORDA is proposing to modify the structure and construct a deck to accommodate day use by the general public during Whiteface’s ski season.  The renovation plans keep the work within the existing clearing.

The lodge is considered by APA and DEC to be an “appurtenance” to the ski trail system pursuant to Article XIV of the NYS Constitution. A ski area at Whiteface Mountain was authorized by a 1941 constitutional amendment which passed by less then 10,000 votes. Whiteface Memorial Highway was approved for “forever wild” Forest Preserve land in 1927.

The renovation of Porcupine Lodge was previously discussed by the DEC and APA during the 2006 and 2013 Whiteface Mountain UMP amendment approvals.

The draft plan is available to view or download on DEC’s website.

Comments about the proposed management action should be sent to DEC by October 22, 2015:

Josh Clague

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation

625 Broadway, 5th Floor

Albany, NY 12233-4254

The can also comment on how the proposal conforms to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. UMPs are required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan for each unit of state land in the Adirondack Park.

Written comments pertaining to Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance should be sent to the APA by October 22, 2015:

Kathy Regan

Deputy Director for Planning

NYS Adirondack Park Agency

P.O. Box 99

Ray Brook, NY 12977

The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan is available to view or download from the Adirondack Park Agency’s website –

Illustrations: Above, an early (c. 1950) map of Whiteface Mountain Ski Area showing the original Marble Mountain ski facilities; and below the interior of Porcupine Lodge (courtesy DEC).

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5 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Isn’t a pre-1973 structure something that can be expanded by 25% w/o any APA permits?

    From the editor, I think you want to delete the by:

    “used by as a Ski Patrol Outpost”

  2. Todd Eastman says:

    Maybe these agencies could put a bit of effort into the Mount Van Hovenberg XC trail network and structures rather than continually dumping staff time into Whiteface…

  3. Avon says:

    It looks to me like the shelter in the photo could be the same size as the “Ski Lodge” illustrated on the old map … but, the old map shows another “Shelter” at the top of several Marble Mountain ski trails. The base lodge is on a presumably-level side road or track off the Memorial Highway, evidently where the scientific station is now (i.e., the upper trailhead, of the two options for hiking up Whiteface from roads above Wilmington). You can’t really say that base itself is “on Marble Mountain,” though it was obviously the base area – with Beginner and Training slopes – for the Marble Mountain ski-trail network shown.

    So I wonder if it’s possible that the photo actually shows the “Ski Lodge,” not the shelter (Porcupine Lodge) on Marble Mountain. I’d be more sure of that if the 50-foot size matches the Ski Lodge. 50 feet was awfully big for a warming shelter as opposed to a lodge; even as late as the 1960s, when I learned to ski, base lodges were sometimes that small. When I hiked Whiteface not long ago via Marble, I didn’t see any structures – nor any likely site for anything nearly that large – that far up.

    • Paul says:

      If you look at it on Google Maps it has got to be the bigger building (black roof) right at the top of the longer ski trails over there.

      The better skiing is still on little whiteface. Hoyt’s High and Look Out Below are good if they have good snow but the longer trails are real sleepers. That seemed like a whole lot of trail clearing for not much return.

      • Robert says:

        Wilmington Trail…basically the only ‘other’ one…can be a blast. Mellow warm up, then a steep with great exposure on skier’s that’s good for 50+ mph, complete with a long run out, the cliff lines on the right afterward, followed by a series of curves plenty tighter and steeper than Excelsior where you can really move on edge and at high speed…if you’re sleeping, you’re really taking your time.

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