Revitalization of Former Theme Park Site Will Bolster Local Economy and Link Recreational Opportunities in the Adirondacks
All-Season Parking Area Now Open for Year-Round Trail Access
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of phase one of the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area. The new public campground facility, located on the site of the former Frontier Town theme park in the town of North Hudson, is a signature piece of the Governor's "Gateway to the Adirondacks" tourism hub and part of the State's Adventure NY Initiative to enhance access to state lands and connect New Yorkers to nature and the outdoors. To date, an estimated total of $25 million in public/private resources have been committed to the project.
"North Hudson is a prime location to introduce visitors to all that the Adirondacks have to offer and encourage travelers to further explore New York's great outdoors," Governor Cuomo said. "With the first phase of the Gateway to the Adirondacks now complete, visitors can begin to experience this one-of-a-kind recreational site, helping to boost the local economy and the region's ever-growing tourism industry."
"The transformation of the Frontier Town Campground will rehabilitate the former theme park site and serve as another recreational space for residents and visitors," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The development will help to bolster the economy in North Hudson and continue to boost the tourism industry in the Adirondacks."
The new Department of Environmental Conservation campground, designed in collaboration with the Office of General Services, and contracted with C.T. Male Associates, will include 91 campsites to accommodate a range of camping experiences.
Phase one of the campground, now complete, includes:
- An equestrian camping area modeled after DEC's Otter Creek facility with space for 33 equestrian camping sites with electrical hookups and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant features;
- Parking for all-season trail access located off Frontier Town Road near NYS Rt. 9, providing year-round parking for 26 vehicles, including spots for 18 vehicles with trailers, six for vehicles only, and two for accessible vehicles;
- Seasonal day-use area along the shoreline of the Schroon River with 34 parking spaces, a pavilion, two playgrounds, a comfort station, and electric vehicle charging stations;
- Entranced ticket booth utilizing solar energy to support part of the ticketing operations; and
- Two staff cabins, a recycling station, a firewood storage building, a water treatment/storage building, and other facilities necessary for the operation of the campground.
Plans for the campground were conceived in the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub Master Plan to establish a Gateway to the Adirondacks to link local and regional outdoor recreation experiences in the Adirondack Park, bolster tourism, and strengthen the North Country's regional economy. In his 2017 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo announced the master plan to establish a tourism hub at Exit 29 of the Northway in the town of North Hudson. In the heart of the Adirondacks, the Gateway site was once home to the Frontier Town theme park. New York State and the Open Space Institute, working in collaboration with five neighboring Adirondack towns, engaged the Chazen Companies to create a blueprint for a new recreation hub to improve local amenities, expand access, and draw increased visitors to the park.
A key component of the master plan is a $19 million state investment through NY Works to develop the new DEC campground on approximately 91 acres of land owned by the town of North Hudson and Essex County. DEC will operate the campground, designed to complement the site's topography and natural features, according to the terms of a conservation easement.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "For more than two decades, this magnificent property lay dormant, leaving a void in North Country communities and tourism economy. Governor Cuomo understands the power of the Adirondack mountains to draw outdoor enthusiasts from around the world to experience their unrivaled beauty. Completion of the first phase of the Gateway to the Adirondacks project at the former Frontier Town property is a significant first step towards realizing the Governor's vision to restore and transform the Adirondack Park into a global destination."
OGS Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "Guided by Governor Cuomo's longstanding goal of expanding tourism as an economic driver in this State, we are very proud of the work being accomplished by several New York-based companies that OGS contracted with to create this piece of the new Gateway to the Adirondacks. Their work has allowed us to reach this important project milestone and will make this site accessible for tourists and residents alike to enjoy."
Phase two of the campground project includes:
- A recreational vehicle (RV) and trailer camping area with space for 13 RV and trailer camping sites. These campsites will have electrical hookups and fireplaces, and conveniently located water spigots. The RV area also includes a playground.
- A tent camping area with a total of 45 tent sites, including three group camping, three walk-in camping sites, two shower buildings, a playground and two pavilions. A minimum of 30 feet of existing vegetation buffer will be maintained between tent sites and all tent sites will be set back at least 30 feet from the top of the bank along the Schroon River so that they are not visible to recreational users of the river.
- Electric vehicle charging stations in the tent camping area.
The Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area is anticipated to be fully operational by next summer. For details, photos, and renderings, visit DEC's website.
To get the project underway, OGS awarded a site preparation package to The Wesson Group of Johnstown. Contracts to build the new campground, equestrian center and day use area were awarded to: Luck Bros. Inc. of Plattsburgh for construction; Weydman Electric, Inc., a WBE in Syracuse for electrical work; and L.H. LaPlante Company, Inc. of Plattsburgh for plumbing and mechanical.
The design of the campground limits disturbance to the natural environment to the greatest extent possible and the preservation of vegetation, wetlands, and topography were all considered in the design. Roadways, trails, and utility corridors follow natural grades in an effort to limit land grading and tree clearing. Rather than placing asphalt concrete which sheds runoff, a porous pavement surface has been utilized for the parking and camping surface within the equestrian camping area. This surface will collect and store runoff before permitting it to infiltrate back into the native subsoils. This eliminates the need for a large stormwater management area and additional tree clearing. On-site wastewater absorption beds with their small footprints were utilized for wastewater treatment rather than absorption trenches to again limit tree clearing. Wood chips generated during tree clearing operations are being reutilized in wastewater lift station odor control filters.
The Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area trails will connect to the existing trail network along NYS Route 9 and part of the Schroon Lake-North Hudson Snowmobile trail network known as the "Ti to Co Line Trail." The trails will provide connectivity to the Hammond Pond Wild Forest to the east, the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest on the west, and the Palmer Pond Bridge connection on the west leading to publicly owned lands including the Boreas Ponds Tract (as contemplated in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Unit Management Plan Amendment) and Essex Chain Lakes Complex. In addition, trails within the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area will connect to other trails and public roads associated with anticipated private development in the northern portion of the project area at Exit 29.
Senator Betty Little said, "Strengthening the local economy is a top priority for me and central to that effort is attracting more people to our region to enjoy the diverse recreational assets the Adirondacks offers. This large investment of state resources in North Hudson will be a big boost, revitalizing much of the old Frontier Town property and bringing in people who otherwise might not stop on their way up and down the Northway. While here, they'll see the wonderful things this community and the surrounding communities have to offer and I am sure many of them will be back for more."
Assemblyman Dan Stec said, "I am pleased to see the first phase of the revitalization of the former Frontier Town property come to fruition. The equestrian camping area and day use area will expand recreational opportunities along with supporting local businesses and improving the overall economy in the Adirondack Park."
Town of North Hudson Supervisor Ron Moore said, "The completion of phase one of the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area begins a new phase in the history of the Town of North Hudson, one that will bring new jobs, business opportunities and growth to our area. The Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area will serve as a staging area for the new recreational opportunities this area has to offer and the increased recreational tourism will provide the economic boost that our towns so desperately need. New trails within the campground will connect to the existing trails system along Route 9 and to the Boreas Ponds Tract and Essex Chain of Lakes along the planned community connector trails to the five towns of Minerva, Newcomb, Indian Lake and Long Lake. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Seggos for their vision and commitment in making this new recreational opportunity possible."
Randy Preston, Chairman, Essex County Board of Supervisors, and Town Supervisor, Town of Wilmington said, "This is the Biggest thing to happen to the southern Adirondacks in years. It will be a life line for the town of North Hudson all possible by the vision of DEC and the Governor."
Kim Elliman, OSI's president and CEO said, "Congratulations to Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Seggos on the opening of the Frontier Town Campground. The Open Space Institute is proud to have helped jumpstart the campground design in keeping with our goals of improving public access, expanding recreational opportunities, and supporting local economies through this Gateway to the heart of the Adirondacks. OSI is vested in safeguarding the Adirondack's unique cultural, recreational and natural heritage, having protected nearly 30,000 acres over the past 25 years, and looks forward to continued advances in land conservation and the promotion of strategic recreation opportunities throughout this remarkable landscape."
Since taking office in 2011, Governor Cuomo has made unprecedented investments in the tourism industry throughout the State, resulting in historic levels of visitors and direct spending. Last year, New York welcomed a record 243.8 million visitors who spent $67.6 billion, generating a total economic impact of more than $100 billion for the fourth straight year. Tourism is now the state's third largest employer, supporting 938,800 jobs annually.
More than 12.4 million people visited the Adirondacks region last year - over 460,000 visitors more than 2016, and a nearly 20 percent increase since 2011. Regional tourism generates more than $1.4 billion in direct visitor spending, including $178 million in State and local taxes, and supports more than 21,300 jobs across six counties.