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North Country Regional Economic Development Council Announces Preservation Work Begins on Great Camp Sagamore

(August 26, 2013)

North Country Regional Economic Development Council Announces Preservation Work Begins on Great Camp Sagamore

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council today announced the start of an improvements project to revitalize and preserve Great Camp Sagamore, a National Historic Landmark in Raquette Lake, Hamilton County. The project is moving forward with the assistance of private donations and a $238,650 grant awarded through Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative, helping to secure Great Camp Sagamore as a historic Adirondack tourism destination.

“Great Camp Sagamore is one of the unique historical treasures of the North Country,” said Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the NCREDC. “Its future is an important part of our Regional Council’s commitment to the Adirondacks and to tourism, and we’re very pleased to be a part of securing this great landmark for generations to come.”

“The North Country has many historic destinations like Great Camp Sagamore that reflect our region’s contributions to the great American story,” said Anthony G. Collins, president of Clarkson University and co-chair of the NCREDC. “Activating tourism as a way to diversify our economy also offers a way to save the iconic sites that make our communities authentic places to visit, live and grow.”

Funding provided through the Regional Council initiative will enable work to proceed to preserve the architectural masterpiece, including repairing roof leaks and roof deterioration, repointing masonry and stone chimneys and foundations, and restoring the camp’s rustic bark siding. One of the structures to be rehabilitated is the camp’s open air bowling alley, a project that includes repairing decayed log beams and rafters, repointing the stone chimney, restoring historic light fixtures and electrical service and refinishing lane flooring. The improvements project is expected to be completed this fall.

“Recognized as a part of both Adirondack and American heritage, the staff and trustees at great Camp Sagamore take stewardship of these 27 NHL buildings very seriously,” Great Camp Sagamore Executive Director Beverly Bridger said. “With this important grant we are able to address dire conditions at five of the structures that are viewed and used by the public each season and know that work done now will sustain tourism into the future. “

Great Camp Sagamore, an early 20th century wilderness retreat for the wealthy Alfred G. Vanderbilt family, provides a rare opportunity for the public to discover what it was like to visit an Adirondack Great Camp. Great camps were luxurious retreats built in Adirondack Mountains by Gilded Age industrialists. Of the several dozen great camps originally built, only Sagamore operates as an independent, not-for-profit dedicated to education and tourism. Still authentic to its original rustic architecture, Sagamore preserves 27 wood and stone buildings in two adjacent complexes.

“I applaud the North Country Regional Economic Development Council for recognizing the importance of preserving this one-of-a-kind Adirondack landmark,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “Great Camp Sagamore embodies the region’s exceptional beauty and history, and these improvements will ensure that visitors continue to come away impressed with what the Adirondacks have to offer.”

A recent study highlighted the importance of tourism to the Adirondack economy. Tourism generated 13.5 percent of labor income in six core Adirondack counties, and Hamilton County was the most dependent on tourism, with half of its labor income generated by tourism.

In 2011, Governor Cuomo redefined the State’s approach to economic development by establishing 10 Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) across the State. The REDC and Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process have transformed economic development in New York State, creating a statewide framework for bottom-up regional economic growth.

Statewide, the first two rounds included $1.5 billion in investments to support more than 1,400 projects, which are creating or helping to retain an estimated 75,000 jobs. As part of round 2, the Great Camp Sagamore was awarded $238,650 from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Environmental Protection Fund, which assists in the development of parks and recreational facilities or historic preservation projects.

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative (REDC) is a key component of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s transformative approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, Governor Cuomo established 10 regional councils to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The councils are public-private partnerships composed of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The regional councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. As a result of the first two rounds of competitive awards, the State is supporting more than 1,450 regionally significant economic development and community revitalization projects that are creating new jobs for New Yorkers and generating investments to grow the economy. For more information on the regional councils, visit