The 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 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.
Comments about the proposed management action should be sent to DEC by October 22, 2015:
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:
Deputy Director for Planning
NYS Adirondack Park Agency
P.O. Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977
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).