From canoe paddles to butterfly watching to live raptor presentations, the Paul Smith's College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) offers something for everyone during the summer.
The Paul Smiths VIC offers miles of scenic, bark-surfaced trails that feature bridges, boardwalks and scenic overlooks which give visitors many opportunities to view Adirondack flora and fauna and take postcard-quality pictures. Interpretive leaflets help people learn about the natural communities of the Adirondack ecosystem - the boreal forest, marshes, bogs, hardwood forest and coniferous wetlands.
The Paul Smiths VIC is located on Route 30 on a 1,400-acre preserve which includes 6 miles of interpretive trails and about 8 miles of backcountry trails, including the 4.1 mile (one way) hike to the top of Jenkins Mountain. Popular trails include the Boreal Life Trail, Forest Ecology Trail, Heron Marsh Trail and Barnum Brook Trail.
Adjacent to the VIC building is a Native Species Butterfly House, featuring butterflies and moths in all stages of development. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week throughout the summer. After Labor Day, the Butterfly House is open on weekends and by appointment, weather permitting. Admission to the VIC Butterfly House is free. However, if you would like to make a donation to fund projects to make the Butterfly House even better, there is a donation box at the exit.
(Enterprise file photo)
A common question for those visiting the Paul Smiths VIC is "What did you see on the trail today?" Designated a New York State Wildlife Viewing destination, the Paul Smiths VIC offers opportunities for the public to see bald eagles, loons, white-tailed deer, hawks, snapping turtles, great blue herons and other Adirondack wildlife. Moose sightings on the property have been regularly reported since 2005.
Throughout the summer, visitors can see live Adirondack bird-of-prey presentations at noon every day. Join a staff naturalist for informative talks on the habits and adaptations of native Adirondack raptors including red tailed hawks.
The Paul Smith's College VIC will host the Great Adirondack Birding Celebration May 31 to June 2, 2013.
Paul Smith's College operates the VIC, which is open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday Although the building is closed on Monday, the trails are still open for public use. Admission is free. The Paul Smiths VIC is located 12 miles north of Saranac Lake on Route 30.