$25 Million Public/Private Investments Committed To-Date Will Establish 'Gateway to the Adirondacks' Tourism Hub
Revitalization of Former Theme Park Will Bolster Local Economy and Link Recreational Opportunities in the Adirondacks
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the groundbreaking of the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area and a new brewing facility for Paradox Brewery. The new, public campground facility, located at the site of the former Frontier Town theme park in the town of North Hudson, is a signature project 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. An estimated $25 million in public/private resources have been committed to the project to date.
"This development will create a unique, world-class campground for New Yorkers and visitors alike to enjoy," Governor Cuomo said. "This Gateway to the Adirondacks will serve as a central point for all of the area's recreations, significantly benefitting the local community and the region's tourism industry."
The plans for the campground were conceived in the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub Master Plan to establish a Gateway to the Adirondacks that will 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 that would 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 a new DEC campground, including equestrian camping and day-use areas constructed on approximately 91 acres of land owned by the town of North Hudson and Essex County. The facility will be operated according to the terms of a conservation easement and will be designed to complement the site's topography and natural features.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Through Governor Cuomo's leadership, we are now one step closer to establishing an essential hub for tourism in the Adirondacks that will bolster economic development by providing easy access to all of the Adirondack Park's recreational opportunities at one central site. The Gateway to the Adirondacks project is the cornerstone of the Governor's Adventure NY initiative. The unique, family-friendly campground unveiled today, along with important amenities like the Paradox Brewery,will provide an important launching pad for residents and visitors alike to explore the world class experiences the Adirondack Park has to offer. I commend our staff and our state, local and private partners for their strong efforts to develop this important asset."
Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said, "OGS is very proud to work with the DEC on construction of the new Frontier Town campground and recreation area that helps expand Governor Cuomo's vision to grow tourism in New York State. Whether you want to take a hike, go camping with your family, or spend some time on the trail with your horses, there will be no better spot than Frontier Town at the gateway to the Adirondacks."
In 2017, Empire State Development issued a Request for Proposals to develop and operate additional tourist destinations near the site, linking the concepts and principles proposed in the Master Plan and complementing DEC's recreational facilities. ESD continues to work with officials from Essex County and the town of North Hudson to determine the next steps for the project. Additionally, ESD partnered with Essex County-based Paradox Brewery to support a project that allows the brewery to build a new facility and expand operations at the site, creating jobs and encouraging regional tourism.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Paradox Brewery's expansion is a great addition to the former Frontier Town, highlighting some of the world-class beer being produced in the Adirondacks and welcoming visitors looking for an authentic craft beverage experience. The brewery will complement the other projects underway at the former Frontier Town, working together to support the Governor's vision for the area."
The Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area
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.
The new DEC campground, designed in collaboration with DEC and OGS, who contracted with C.T. Male Associates, will include 91 campsites to accommodate a range of camping experiences:
- An equestrian camping area modeled after DEC's Otter Creek facility will provide space for 33 equestrian camping sites, including Americans with Disabilities Act -compliant features.
- A recreational vehicle and trailer camping area with space for 13 RV and trailer camping sites. RV and trailer campsite pads will have electrical hookups and fireplaces, and water spigots will be conveniently located.
- A tent camping area will include a total of 45 tent sites, including three group 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.
- A parking area for all-season trail access will be located off Frontier Town Road near NYS Rt. 9, providing year round parking for 26 vehicles, including spots for 18 vehicles with snowmobile trailers, six for vehicles only, and two for accessible vehicles.
- A seasonal day-use area will be located along the shoreline of the Schroon River with 34 parking spaces.
- The entrance ticket booth will utilize solar energy to support part of the ticketing operations, and amenities for staff will also be provided.
- Electric vehicle charging stations will be available at the seasonal day-use and tent camping areas.
For details 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 have been 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 all-season, day-use area is expected to be open this fall. The Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area are anticipated to be fully operational by next summer.
Paradox Brewery was founded in 2013 by former Army pilot Paul Mrocka, who developed an appreciation for brewing while stationed in Germany. The brewery's craft beer line has received national awards and attention, generating greater demand and a need to expand operations. Paradox has purchased an 11.2-acre parcel at the former Frontier Town site to build a new brewing facility, which includes a tap room to welcome visitors interested in learning about the brewing operations and for sampling the brewery's products. Renderings of the new facility are available here.
Paradox will invest $5.2 million into the new facility, which includes construction, machinery and equipment, and the installation of a new waste treatment system. ESD is providing $200,000 through a North Country Regional Economic Development Council grant, and $300,000 in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits for the creation of 22 jobs. Additionally, the Development Authority of the North Country is providing Essex County $500,000 through the North Country Redevelopment Fund for demolition at the Frontier Town site.
Paul Mrocka, President of Paradox Brewery, said, "On behalf of everyone at Paradox Brewery, I am excited to break ground on our new expanded brewery in North Hudson. This will allow us to meet the growing demand for our products, and offer more visitors the opportunity to experience Pure Adirondack Craft Beer in the perfect mountain setting. I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo and Empire State Development for their support with this project."
Senator Betty Little said, "Like so many who travel the Adirondack Northway, when passing exit 29 I look to the old Frontier Town and recall fond memories. But now is the time to look to the future, to create a new destination where many more families will share special times and make their own memories. This will be a big boost for the local economy and bring jobs and revenue to a part of the Adirondack that needs and deserves this kind of investment."
Assemblyman Dan Stec said, "Expanding economic development opportunities in the Adirondack Park is a win for all. The Gateway to the Adirondacks initiative will provide visitors with a great recreational experience and the opportunity to sample some of the best hand crafted brewery produced in the state."
Randy Preston, Chairman of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, said, "The Frontier Town project is the most positive thing to happen in Essex County in years and we thank Governor Cuomo for his vision in making this a reality."
Ron Moore, Town of North Hudson Supervisor, said, "The ground breaking of the new Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area and Paradox Brewery is fantastic news for the town of North Hudson and the entire Five Towns Upper Hudson Rec Hub. Coupled with the Boreas Ponds Tract and Essex Chain of Lakes, the planned community connector trails to the five towns of Minerva, Newcomb, Indian Lake, Long Lake and North Hudson will provide new and unique recreational opportunities that will make this a world-wide destination for people to enjoy all that the Adirondack Park has to offer. This increased recreational tourism will provide the economic boost that our towns so desperately need and will not only sustain the businesses we have, but provide for new business opportunities and growth. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Seggos for their vision and commitment in making this new recreational opportunity possible."
Garry Douglas, North Country Chamber of Commerce President and NCREDC Co-Chair, said, "The redevelopment of the Frontier Town site in North Hudson as a welcoming gateway for Adirondack visitors is another transformative investment in our region by Governor Cuomo. The North Country REDC is especially pleased to have had the opportunity to support Paradox Brewery as a cornerstone of this development. Our thanks to Paradox for its continuing growth in the North Country and to Governor Cuomo, Senator Little and Assemblyman Stec for their support of this historic gateway project."
James W. Wright, Executive Director of the Development Authority of the North Country, said, "Tourism is a key growth strategy for the North Country and the Development Authority is pleased to be able to partner with Essex County through the Redevelopment Fund, administered on behalf of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, to help make the Frontier Town project a reality. The demolition of some of the outdated structures will prepare the site for future growth and development."
Kim Elliman, Open Space Institute's president and CEO, said, "The Adirondack Gateway project will improve public access, expand recreational opportunities and support local economies in the heart of the Adirondacks, and OSI is proud to have played an early, pivotal role in taking the idea from concept to reality. Our involvement in the Gateway project builds on 25 years of land conservation in the Adirondacks, during which we have protected more than 28,000 acres to support the region's cultural and natural heritage."
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