Posts Tagged ‘debar pond lodge’

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.

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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.   

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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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.


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Support the Preservation of Debar Pond Lodge

Debar Pond LodgeDebar Pond Lodge is an historic Great Camp designed by noted Adirondack architect William G. Distin, a protégé of Saranac Lake architect William Coulter, and built in 1940. This spectacular rustic-style log lodge stands on the shore of scenic Debar Pond in the northern Adirondack town of Duane (Franklin County). It is listed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places.
Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) supports the preservation and public use of Debar Pond Lodge. We should treat this valuable cultural resource the way we treat our incredible natural resources – with great care and stewardship.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has released a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) that calls for the removal of the historic lodge and other outbuildings. AARCH has advocated for the preservation and public enjoyment of this historic site for more than 15 years and has developed multiple alternatives for the site that are legal and compatible with its Forest Preserve setting. That NYSDEC has so completely and thoughtlessly dismissed these alternatives flies against its obligations under the State Historic Preservation Act and sections of Environmental Conservation Law.