SARANAC LAKE - The conceptual design for a new ski lodge at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center was presented to the Harrietstown town board Thursday night.
The 3,500-square-foot lodge, designed by North Woods Engineering, would include a large, multi-purpose great room and an office along with an attached garage to store cross-country skiing gear and other equipment.
"We think it's a pretty cool design," Tom Boothe of Dewey Mountain Friends, the group spearheading the project, told the board.
This is the conceptual design for a new ski lodge at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in Saranac Lake.
(Drawing by North Woods Engineering, courtesy of Dewey Mountain Friends)
The town owns the recreation center, which is used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, and hiking and mountain biking the rest of the year. The center is managed by Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters, a Saranac Lake-based outdoor gear store and excursion service. Dewey currently has two buildings - a 20-year-old converted job-site trailer and a 40-year-old log cabin - that together serve as its base lodge.
"They are both deteriorating," Dewey Mountain Friends Chairwoman Mary Thill said. "They're too small to accommodate Dewey's existing needs to hold a lot of people for races, events and for youth and school programs. The need (for a new lodge) is clear.
"The more exciting reason to do this is cross-country skiing is a growing sport; it's growing at a rate of 9 percent per year, according to a survey from SnowSports Industries America," Thill said. "We can see the trend reflected at Dewey. Use is definitely growing."
Thill said snowshoeing also continues to be a popular recreational activity at Dewey, along with warmer-weather recreation like mountain biking and hiking.
Plans for a new Dewey Mountain base lodge were announced in the fall of 2010. Since then, Thill said her group has been working with Demong Designs on trail improvements, developing a site plan and, with the help of North Woods Engineering, putting together the conceptual design for the new lodge that was presented to the board Thursday night.
"I think the feature of the new lodge that will be most useful is a great room that faces the mountain," Thill said. "We'll have more room inside for teams to change and for parents to watch kids skiing, and they'll be able to watch racers cross the finish line or watch their kids come down the hill. It's also south-facing, so that's going to play a role in being more energy efficient. We'll be capturing more sunlight."
The project has an estimated $600,000 price tag, which also includes trail improvements. Dewey Mountain Friends is now off and running on fundraising, Boothe told the board. A Summer Ski Jam event is planned for July 29; based on Dewey's winter Ski Jams, it will feature live music from six local bands and solo acts, a barbecue and kids' activities. The event is being held at Saranac Lake's Mount Pisgah downhill ski lodge because Dewey's facilities are too small to accommodate it.
A silent auction to benefit the project will be held at an Aug. 25 Martin Sexton concert at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Sexton, a nationally famous singer-songwriter who lives seasonally in Saranac Lake, will also live-auction a few items on stage, Thill said.
The private funds raised for the project would serve as the local match for a state grant Dewey Mountain Friends is pursuing. The group has partnered with the Saranac Lake Rotary Foundation to submit a consolidated funding application to the state through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.
At the request of Rotarian John Banta, the town board passed a resolution acknowledging the efforts of Dewey Mountain Friends and the Rotary Foundation to submit a state funding application and to raise funds for construction of the lodge and related recreation improvements.
Town board members said they liked the design.
"It looks really nice," said Councilwoman Nichole Meyette, who volunteered to promote the July 29 event at Mount Pisgah to attendees of the annual Can-Am Rugby Tournament, which is being held that same weekend.
Thill said the goal is to have the new lodge ready in two years.
"We're hoping to complete the fundraising in one year and the construction within two," she said. "When it's complete and up to town standards, we'll turn the key over to the town."
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or email@example.com.