Posts Tagged ‘debar pond lodge’

Monday, January 22, 2024

Preserving Debar Pond Lodge

debar pond lodge

By Erin Tobin, Executive Director, Adirondack Architectural Heritage

For the last thirty years, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) and others have advocated for the preservation of Debar Pond Lodge. In 2014, AARCH wrote the successful nomination for Debar Pond Lodge to the National Register of Historic Places. This designation is due to the site’s association with Adirondack tourism in the first half of the twentieth century, as an outstanding example of evolving early/mid-twentieth century Adirondack camp design, and as an important work of noted regional architect William Distin. 

We understand that without the Town of Duane’s support, the Debar Pond Lodge land exchange amendment is unlikely to pass the state legislature. We respect the town’s authority to oppose the amendment and removal of the six acres surrounding Debar Pond Lodge from the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Moving forward, AARCH will continue to work for the lodge’s preservation, seeking a constitutionally appropriate avenue for the building’s reuse.  » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 7, 2024

Opposition Grows To The Proposed Debar Lodge Constitutional Amendment

Through most of the last few years, Protect the Adirondacks stood alone in its opposition to the proposed amendment to Article 14, Section 1, the famed Forever Wild clause of the New York Constitution, to privatize and remove six acres from the Forest Preserve at the north end of Debar Pond. The affected lands provide the best public access to a popular beach and canoe launching area on Debar Pond in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest area and include some decrepit buildings that should be demolished and removed around the boarded-up Debar Lodge. Protect the Adirondacks has made the case that the Debar Lodge site should be reclaimed and restored to a wild forest setting and the site should remain highly accessible and easy to reach for swimming, hiking, canoeing, fishing, hunting, and camping, and be a place that can grow wilder each year and one day be like another Lake Lila.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, October 9, 2023

Debar Pond Lodge and the forest preserve

Debar Pond Lodge

In our deep-dive on Adirondack Park unit management plans (UMPs), we learned from the Adirondack Park Agency that Debar Mountain Wild Forest may soon be on the docket for another examination. In 2020, the agency and state Department of Environmental Conservation released a draft UMP that called for tearing down Debar Pond Lodge, a 1940s-era Great Camp in the town of Duane. It is an illegal structure on forest preserve lands.

But groups, particularly Adirondack Architectural Heritage, called for the building’s preservation. That would require a constitutional amendment, and though such a one has been introduced twice, it has not passed the state Legislature. Adirondack Architectural Heritage is hoping its third attempt will be successful this upcoming legislative session. Should it pass both houses, the earliest the amendment could be on a statewide ballot would be November 2025.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, October 6, 2023

Public Opinion Survey Supports Debar Lodge

Keeseville, NY – For the past three years, state legislators, local and regional government officials, state agencies, environmental and economic development groups, and others have deliberated over the future of historic Debar Pond Lodge.  The 10-bedroom lodge and support buildings are located on State Forest Preserve land in the northern Adirondack town of Duane, Franklin County, and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Tear Down Debar Lodge And Make Debar Pond Into Another Lake Lila

Protect the Adirondacks opposes legislation for an amendment to Article 14, Section 1, of the New York Constitution to remove six acres of public lands from the constitutionally protected Adirondack Forest Preserve. The affected lands provide public access to Debar Pond in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest area and include some decrepit buildings that should be demolished and removed. The proposed constitutional amendment would convey into private ownership an area is used by the public seeking remote, wild experiences on an otherwise undeveloped lake. The existing buildings, known as Debar Lodge, are dilapidated and will costs millions of dollars to restore for their proposed new use as some kind of private institute. If the deal goes through, public access will be sharply reduced from what we all enjoy today. This is a bad deal for public recreation, for wild places, and for the forever wild Forest Preserve.

Supporters of resuscitating Debar Lodge want to reduce public access to a side path on the edge of the private compound, while the paying guests of the renovated Debar Lodge complex will be able to monopolize the area with the best access to Debar Pond. The public will be allowed on the grounds of the private enclave for a fee or with a conference reservation.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

A trip to a historic lodge

debar

I confess to being a groupie of the Port Kent-Hopkinton Turnpike, a 19th century transportation artifact that ran from Lake Champlain 75 miles inland to an outpost in the northern Adirondack foothills.

A lonely ribbon through the wilderness, significant mileage exists today exactly as it did in 1833 when it was completed. It tiptoes through the lovely community of Loon Lake and bobs and weaves its way past the underappreciated Loon Lake Mountain trailhead.

North of that, it passes the entry to Debar Pond Lodge, a site of consequential history and, over time, three major lodgings, the last of which, built in 1940, still stands. Perhaps most notably, the land in the late 1800s was owned by the son of a German brewer who planted a record-setting 300 acres in hops.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Constitutional Amendment would save Debar Pond Lodge

Debar Pond Lodge

Senator Dan Stec (R,C-Queensbury) has announced he’s sponsoring a Constitutional Amendment to save Debar Pond Lodge. Senate bill S7868 would allow New York State to transfer the lodge to the Debar Pond Institute in exchange for 400 acres of land in the Adirondacks. This amendment would enhance the size and beauty of the Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks, while also ensuring the historic lodge remains protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy.

The Debar Pond Lodge Land Exchange Amendment is also sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblyman Billy Jones. With strong bi-partisan state and local support, this amendment could be on the ballot as early as fall 2023.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Cabins that Time Forgot

rundown cabinThe Adirondack Forest Preserve is celebrated as one of the world’s best-protected wilderness reserves, but of course this is New York State, not the distant, untrodden surface of Venus; with precious few exceptions all of the lands that are now “forever wild” were once privately owned, and many parcels were developed to one degree or another before the state acquired them for the Forest Preserve. If you’ve enjoyed any of the Adirondack Park’s “blockbuster” purchases over the last quarter-century, such as Little Tupper Lake, Round Lake, the Essex Chain of Lakes, Boreas Ponds, or Madawaska Flow, you have explored land that was once populated by dozens of modest hunting camps.

I was an early visitor at all of these properties, exploring their secrets while the ink was still wet on the deeds. In 1998, just weeks after the “William C. Whitney Area” opened to the public, I found a small cabin on the north shore of Little Tupper Lake that even DEC staff didn’t seem to know about. At Madawaska Flow in 2004 and Round Lake in 2006, I ventured into recently abandoned cabins that stood on expired leases, quietly awaiting their demolition. These structures reminded me that what I had come to explore as “wilderness” had been perceived and used as something slightly different a few years earlier.

Because of these experiences, as well as my interest in Adirondack history, I have never been deluded into thinking our wilderness is a people-less place; it may be the natural landscape that attracts me and fills my daydreams, but I am also familiar with (and fascinated by) the human story that haunts the Forest Preserve.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Finally, a solution for Debar Lodge

By Howard Kirschenbaum

Debar Lodge, a grand camp complex listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Franklin County, has been a dilemma for New York State since it took ownership in 1979 and possession in 2004.

Located on the shore of secluded Debar Pond in the Debar Wild Forest unit of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, the lodge and associated buildings were designed by leading Adirondack architect William Distin and represent an outstanding example of rustic log construction. 

Although Debar has great potential for public educational programs and lodging, the state has been unable or unwilling to find legal and appropriate uses for the structures.  Rather it has recently proposed to tear down the buildings and reclassify the land as an Intensive Use area for camping, boating and day use.

Fortunately, there is a better solution—one that preserves and uses the historic buildings in the public interest AND allows public recreational access to Debar Pond and the surrounding Forest Preserve.   

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 11, 2021

It’s Debatable: Debar Pond Lodge

Coming tomorrow: A coalition proposes a new solution for Debar Lodge.

Before that, we’ll revisit the ongoing debate around this historic structure.

In the Jan/Feb 2021 issue of Adirondack Explorer, we posed the question:

Is there a legal and practical solution for preserving Debar Pond Lodge?

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Chad Dawson resigns from the APA

Last week’s Adirondack Park Agency meeting was a humdinger.

Board members, state Department of Environmental Conservation staff and APA staff all discussed two major projects that have led to plenty of passionate public comment. Those included visions for the Debar Mountain Complex and some changes to the Essex Chain Lakes area.

About three hours into this meeting, with the above-mentioned projects taking up the majority of the time, board member Chad Dawson announced his resignation. Dawson (pictured here) has been a wilderness advocate on the board, whose membership leans toward local government and economic development.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, December 11, 2020

APA, DEC announce new public comment period, public hearing for Debar

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), as co – lead agencies, have determined that the Integrated Series of Proposed State Land Management Actions in the Vicinity of Debar Mountain Wild Forest may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and have prepared a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) and Final Scope. NYS DEC and the APA announce an opportunity for public comment on the proposed actions.

The APA proposes re-classification of approximately 41 acres of land from the Debar Mountain Wild Forest to be classified as Intensive Use, on the shore of Debar Pond.  The reclassification proposal will be reviewed for compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and will be in conformance with the Programmatic EIS.  The proposed reclassification is located in the Town of Duane.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 6, 2020

Paying a visit to Debar Pond Lodge

Our Covid-19 socially distanced excursion last week took us to the Debar Tract on NYS Route 30, north of Paul Smith’s College and south of Malone. I wanted to see this area for myself after reading about the controversy over removal of the historic buildings on the shore of Debar Pond. (Click here for the latest article from Adirondack Explorer.)

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Although it is historic, Debar Lodge can’t stay

The Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed that the ultimate removal of Debar Lodge from the Debar Mountain Wild Forest in Duane will require a full Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS. The scope of that EIS has been out for public comment on the Adirondack Park Agency’s website.

DEC considers the following proposed mitigation for the Lodge’s removal: reclassification of 41-acres where the Lodge is located from Wild Forest to an Intensive Use Day Use Area to become a “recreation hub” involving expanded parking; pavilions; picnicking; bathrooms; trail development; and exhibits.  DEC appears to believe that the more intensive the recreational use allowed at the former Lodge location, the faster folks will forget that the Lodge ever existed. I doubt that is the case.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Historic buildings and the Forest Preserve

HISTORIC PRESERVATION: A proposal to take down the Debar Lodge as part of proposed management changes to the more than 88,000-acre Debar Wild Forest Area in Franklin County, has drawn some attention. Gwen Craig’s story was the top-read article in the Explorer this past week. READ IT

As the Lodge is a 1940 Adirondack camp on the State and National Register of Historic Places, historic preservation organizations have rallied around it. See this commentary from AARCH that ran this week in the Almanack. From the Almanack archive, Peter Bauer digs into the “historic” classification of buildings in the Forest Preserve in a three part series that ran on the Almanack in 2018. The first dealt with buildings used for administrative purposes and the effort to retain the inner Gooley Club. The second focused on buildings that are classified as Historic and how this group of buildings is growing. The third deals with public residential use through a formal lodging network.

From 2012, Explorer editor Phil Brown looks at dams in the wilderness, and whether the state should preserve of take them out.



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