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.