Last month, ADK moved into Cascade Ski Center. After a year of negotiating, signing paperwork, and visioning, it felt a little surreal to enter the great room not as a visitor, but as part of an organization that now can tap into this property’s incredible potential.
Almost concurrently, we concluded a month of community engagement where we heard from over 100 people who took the time to share their feedback with us through group sessions, individual meetings, and emails. Representing everything from ADK members to local ski areas to state agencies, we heard from a diverse array of stakeholders who all shared in our enthusiasm for Cascade Ski Center’s potential. I want to thank each and every one of them for their time and input.
Through this feedback, we heard some great ideas for how we could improve on Cascade Ski Center’s reputation as a community recreation space while expanding ADK’s mission to protect the Adirondack Park through outdoor education and stewardship. Here are some things that we heard that we are excited to consider as we move forward with developing a business plan for Cascade.
- Information Services: 70% of visitors to the Tri-Lakes region pass by Cascade Ski Center. We heard broad support for visitor information services there that would cover everything from trail conditions to local history to employment opportunities for prospective residents.
- Interpretive Programming: With a wetland on the property, Cascade is uniquely positioned to showcase and tell the story of the Adirondack Park’s ecological importance. Whether that be through naturalist walks or indoor displays, there was support for interpretive programs that focus on this message.
- Youth Education: From hosting youth ski programs to expanding our Three Seasons at Heart Lake school outreach program, numerous contributors voiced their support for more programs at Cascade that connect children and their families to the outdoors.
- Four Season Recreation: Cascade is well-loved for skiing and snowshoeing, which will continue under ADK’s ownership, but we also heard support for making the trails open to mountain biking and hiking to make Cascade a space for community-based recreation year-round.
- Inclusivity: Cascade has the potential to improve access to the outdoors for a wide range of people. Along these lines, we heard great suggestions for creating a gear library to overcome economic barriers to the outdoors and developing ADA accessible trails on the property in the future.
- Dining: We heard how important the great room in Cascade has been to visitors as a space for relaxation and recuperation after a day on the trail. Food was key to that experience. Through this we see an opportunity to support local businesses by contracting with an existing vendor in the area to provide food.
As we enter the summer season, we will begin the process of developing a business plan for the 200-acre property. While winter skiing and snowshoeing, and summer information services are guaranteed services that we will provide there, the rest will be determined by a combination of what we heard from our feedback providers and the goals outlined by ADK’s mission. Once the business plan is finalized, we will share it on our website, ADK.org, so you know what to expect from ADK and Cascade Ski Center going forward.
If you have not yet provided feedback and would like to do so, please send your thoughts to [email protected].
Adirondack Explorer file photo of Cascade Ski Center by Mike Lynch