DEC to host three Santanoni open weekends

Neilson Snye, of Tupper Lake, takes in the view during a ski out to the historic great camp Santanoni last February. The DEC will open several of the buildings to the public during three weekends this winter.
(Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

Neilson Snye, of Tupper Lake, takes in the view during a ski out to the historic great camp Santanoni last February. The DEC will open several of the buildings to the public during three weekends this winter. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

NEWCOMB — The state Department of Environmental Conservation will open buildings at the historic Great Camp Santanoni in Newcomb for three weekends this year, the fifth in a row.

The DEC will have the Gate Lodge and Main Lodge open to the public, as well as the Artist’s Cottage, which will be heated and staffed. The public is able to go to the property year-round, but the buildings are typically only open during the summer.

This weekend is the first of the three where DEC and Adirondack Architectural Heritage staff and volunteers will be on hand to explain the history of one of the few remaining great camp complexes in the Adirondacks. The DEC said in a press release that the buildings would also be open Feb. 17-19 [President’s Day weekend] and March 10 and 11. There is no cost for the open weekends, and the town of Newcomb and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry are also co-hosts.

SUNY ESF students will host a wildlife tracking program Saturday, and the trails at Santanoni also connect to the Newcomb Adirondack Interpretive Center’s trail system.

The main camp road, which leads from the gate house about five miles to the Main Lodge, will be open to skiers and snowshoers. The Artist’s Cabin, nestled on the shore of Newcomb Lake, will be heated, and staff and volunteers will be on hand with hot cocoa and coffee for those in need of a warm up.

The camp itself was built more than 100 years ago, and even though a lot of the original buildings are now gone, the complex is largely intact.

The camp was built by Robert Pruyn of New York City as a summer home and retreat. The Pruyns entertained rich and famous people of the time, including Theodore Roosevelt, and at one time was made up of nearly 13,000 acres of land.

Although many of the buildings are gone, there are three main components to the great camp property that still provide a glimpse of its glory. The Gate House is just off of state Route 28N in Newcomb and is a formidable building that truly conveys the potency of the classic Adirondack Great Camp. Skiers and snowshoers will then pass the Farm Complex on their way to the Main Lodge. Historical signage and markers follow the trail and offer context for what is around.

“We are happy to work with our partners, DEC, AARCH and SUNY ESF to build on the history and natural beauty of our town to provide tourism destinations that people want to visit,” Newcomb Town Supervisor Robin Deloria said in a press release. “We invite the public to come to the Newcomb WinterFest before or after visiting Camp Santanoni. We will have meals at the Newcomb Central School, dog sled rides, fat bike and skiing demos, ice fishing, skating, sledding, a square dance, and more.”

For more information, go to www.dec.ny.gov/lands/53095.html.

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