The state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Monday its plans to manage the historic Camp Santanoni area in Newcomb. The DEC unveiled some proposed changes at the remote former great camp with ties to the Pruyn family, with other recreational uses of the property to continue.
The DEC press release is below.
-- Don Lehman
DEC Announces Final Management Plan for Camp Santanoni Historic Area
Allowing for More Restoration and Maintenance
The plan for managing Camp Santanoni Historic Area is now final, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Segos announced today. The plan identifies how DEC and its partners will continue and take the next steps to restore and maintain this National Historic Landmark.
"The management plan will allow DEC and its partners to better restore, maintain and protect this amazing historic area so future generations can enjoy it," said Acting Commissioner Seggos. "Camp Santanoni provides insight into the history and culture of the Adirondacks. A variety of outdoor recreational opportunities for people of all abilities are also available."
The 32-acre historic area consists of three main areas of the camp and the carriage road (Newcomb Lake Road) that connects them:
The Gate Lodge Complex includes a stone gate lodge, boat house, and guide house.
The Farm Complex consists of the ruins of a large dairy and horse barn lost in a tragic fire, as well as the stone dairy building, several houses, and ruins of many other buildings.
The Main Complex sits on the shores of Newcomb Lake and contains the main lodge, stone Artist’s Studio, boat house, and several smaller structures.
In addition to these features, there are several other related remains scattered about the original estate.
DEC, the town of Newcomb and Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) will take part in the restoration and maintenance of the camp. The SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry Adirondack Interpretive Center assists with promotion and programs regarding the historic area. DEC has maintenance staff on site year round. They are supplemented by summer interpretive staff who are funded by the Town of Newcomb and jointly supervised by DEC and AARCH.
“This is great news for Camp Santanoni!” said Wester Miga, Supervisor of the town of Newcomb. “Authorization to rebuild the barn and calling for a Historic Landscape Report as described in the final management plan will enhance the outstanding character which already exists at this wonderful facility. We appreciate the hard work which has been dedicated to crafting this new page in our history.”
"Adirondack Architectural Heritage is pleased the new management plan for Camp Santanoni has been adopted,” said Howie Kirschenbaum, AARCH Board Member and Chair of the Camp Santanoni Committee. “We look forward now to continuing working in partnership with DEC, the Town of Newcomb and Friends of Camp Santanoni to continue restoring this important National Landmark and enhancing its interpretation. The biggest challenge will be planning and fundraising for the rebuilding of the Santanoni Barn, tragically lost to fire 10 years ago, but now authorized by the new management plan."
“We recognize and thank Acting Commissioner Seggos and his staff at DEC for all of their hard work to develop this management plan,” Paul Hai, Associate Director of the Northern Forest Institute at SUNY ESF’s Newcomb Campus. “We are excited about working with DEC, AARCH and the town of Newcomb to provide programs to residents and visitors to inform them of the rich human and natural history of the Adirondacks and how it reflects on current activities across the park. In particular, the new barn and the farm around provide a unique opportunity to use the past to inform current events.”
One of the main components of the plan is constructing a replica dairy barn in the Farm Complex on the surviving foundation of the historic barn which burned to the ground in 2004. A correct to detail replica of the barn is expected to cost $1 to $1.5 Million. With the approval of the plan, DEC will undertake detailed planning and design for the barn. The partners expect to begin raising funds for this project immediately. A professional study of the historic landscape of the site will also be initiated.
The boundary of the Farm Complex will also be adjusted to include remnants of an apple orchard and vegetable garden, allowing these areas to be maintained in a manner that reflects how they appeared in the farms heyday. Other work includes installing a fire alarm system, coating buildings with fire retardant and constructing a new pole barn to accommodate maintenance equipment.
Camp Santanoni is a National Historic Landmark and considered one of the most sophisticated and distinguished of all of the surviving great camps in the Adirondacks. The Camp was created by Robert C. and Anna Pruyn. A successful Albany banker and businessman, Mr. Pruyn used the camp for entertaining guests and as a refuge from city life. Mr. Pruyn entertained many guests, among whom were Theodore Roosevelt and the great grandson of the author James Fenimore Cooper along with many other prominent people. At its height, Camp Santanoni comprised over 12,900 acres. Camp Santanoni is one of the oldest and grandest of the early great camps.
Today, the area is a popular day hike destination during summer months, as well as a cross country skiing destination in the colder months. Three Camp Santanoni Winter Weekend Events are held annually and attended by many cross-country skiers and snowshoers.
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