Paul Smith's College to keep trails open at state visitor information center
Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 9:44 am

PAUL SMITHS -- The Adirondack Park Agency has turned over the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center, a state facility based at Paul Smith's College, to the school.

The college is assuming responsibility for the main 24,500-square-foot public assembly building, which includes a 158-seat multi-purpose room, staff offices, exhibit and classroom space. The long-standing lease of the college’s land by APA has terminated with the transfer.

The college say it intends to maintain public access to the VIC’s extensive trail network. The trails, which are on college-owned land, attract thousands of hikers, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and other outdoor enthusiasts to the area every year.

The college has worked with outside groups as part of its commitment to continuing the tradition of public access to the VIC building. The Adirondack Park Institute, a volunteer, not-for-profit group that supports educational programming at the VIC, has taken the lead in those efforts and has already raised more than $40,000 to continue those offerings.

Paul Smith’s says that it will soon announce plans for the VIC, including programming, staffing, hours of operations, public visitation, special programs inclusive of groups and schools, off site programs and outreach.

In July 2010 the APA transferred the state-owned buildings and equipment at the Newcomb VIC to SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. SUNY ESF now manages environmental programming for the Newcomb VIC and plans to integrate the facility with the Adirondack Ecological Center and the Northern Forest Institute and maintain public access.