The Adirondack Park Agency has approved the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation’s plan to redevelop the former Frontier Town site in North Hudson.
In 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo called for establishing a Gateway to the Adirondacks at the former Frontier Town theme park. The DEC released a draft plan and held information sessions in December. The Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area is a $13 million project on 91 acres. Trails would connect to existing paths and snowmobile networks. The camping facilities include 33 equestrian, 13 RV and trailer as well as 45 tent sites. The plan requires review by the Adirondack Park Agency and DEC Project Manager Ariel Lynch presented an overview to the board. “The former Frontier Town theme park and village operated on the lands immediately to the north of the project site between 1952 and 1999. So there are a lot of existing buildings still standing associated with that former use. Private development may occur on these former theme park lands to complement the campground but that’s not part of this project. So just to be clear that the project before you today is a campground proposed by the DEC.”
Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board Executive Director Fred Monroe says the APA’s unanimous approval cements a commitment by agencies and the governor to create a “gateway” to the Adirondack region. “Frontier Town is a very developed site. It’s right on the Northway and it’s very near the road that goes over towards Newcomb. It’s right along the Schroon River. So that’s an attraction. You know it’s near the central Adirondacks. It’s a great location.”
Lake Placid-based Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism President Jim McKenna echoes the project’s importance. “It’s location and ease of access off the Northway cannot be beat. Number two the High Peaks have been experiencing more and more congestion. What this does I believe is offer another opportunity for people coming from the south primarily to sort of get a good understanding of other regions of the Adirondacks number one and number two if we ever get to a system where there’s a permit for hiking this could act as a central location to sort of help people really understand where the least congested hiking is. And the third thing that sticks out it opens up some of our other communities.”
Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Farber says the Frontier Town project is one piece of a puzzle that will help stabilize the Adirondack’s economy. “It’s really about us doing a number of things simultaneously. I think it’s the development of Frontier Town. I think it’s developing these trail networks. I think it’s frankly developing sufficient lodging opportunities within the Adirondacks so that the only real places to stay are no longer just Lake George, Lake Placid, Old Forge. We’re not competing against each other. We’re competing against the world. So it isn’t as if I think that this one thing is the silver bullet that fixes it all. But I’m really high on the partnership that we’ve been able to maintain with the state over the last few years and some of the things that we’ve been able to get done.”
Construction on the DEC campsite project at Frontier Town is set to begin in February. A day-use center is expected to open in the fall of 2018 and campsites in the summer of 2019.