DEC announces Santanoni ski-snowshoe weekends

Visitors ski up to Great Camp Santanoni’s Main Lodge on a Winter Weekend the state Department of Environmental Conservation hosted in March 2015. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

NEWCOMB — The state Department of Environmental Conservation is offering the public three chances to tour the Great Camp Santanoni property in Newcomb this winter.

The DEC has designated one weekend each in January, February and March when the public can ski or snowshoe into the great camp for tours of the property: Martin Luther King holiday weekend, Jan. 14 to 16; President’s Day holiday weekend, Feb. 18 to 20; and the weekend of March 18 and 19.

Winter Weekend attendees can ski or snowshoe the 9.8-mile round trip from Camp Santanoni’s Gate Lodge Complex to the remote Main Lodge Complex on Newcomb Lake, passing the Farm Complex about a mile in.

Snowshoes will be provided free of charge at the Gate Lodge for any visitors needing them, courtesy of the Adirondack Interpretive Center, run by the SUNY College of Environmental Science and forestry in Newcomb.

“The trip provides a moderate physical activity and a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors,” the DEC release said.

Robert Pruyn (1847-1934), an Albany-based banker, politican and inventor of toys and puzzles, and his wife Anna built Santanoni’s complexes more than 110 years ago on a 13,000-acre preserve. With the farm, it was a self-sustaining summer residential compound. Pruyn had traveled to Japan at a young age with his father, and the Main Lodge Complex’s layout was inspired by the design of Japanese temples.

Camp Santanoni’s buildings had been crumbling for years as part of the state Forest Preserve, but in 2000, the state Adirondack Park Agency established a 32-acre historic area including the three complexes connected by an old carriage road, which also functions as a ski or hiking trail. Many of the buildings have been restored, and in February 2016 the APA approved upgrades that include building a large milking barn that burned in 2004.

“The public is invited to enjoy winter outdoor recreation with their family and friends while immersed in the beautiful wilderness setting and the rich cultural heritage of the Adirondacks during any of the three weekends,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a press release. “These open house events are part of Governor Cuomo and DEC’s efforts to work with local communities to increase tourism and economic activity by showcasing this wondrous part of New York state. The increasing popularity of the Winter Weekends demonstrates our efforts are effective in bringing visitors to the North Country.”

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