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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Trying to save the VICs

Paul Smith’s College will host a meeting of elected officials and other interested parties next week to try to keep the state-run Visitor Interpretive Centers from closing.

Governor David Paterson has proposed shutting the two VICs, located in Paul Smiths and Newcomb, to save money. They would close by next January.

A naturalist with an owl at the Newcomb VIC.

A naturalist with an owl at the Newcomb VIC.

The college leases to the state the land occupied by the Paul Smiths VIC—more than 2,700 acres.  “We recognize the importance of the VIC to the community,” said Kenneth Aaron, a college spokesman, “and we want to find a way to keep it open.”

He acknowledged that the college would have to pay an extra $7,000 or so in annual property taxes if the VIC were to close.

Run by the Adirondack Park Agency, both VICs house natural-history exhibits and offer trails for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.

Asked what would happen to the Paul Smiths trails if the VIC closes, Aaron replied: “That’s a good question. It’s up in the air.” He added that the college cannot afford to keep the VIC open on its own.

Among those invited to the meeting  are the region’s state legislators and representatives from the Adirondack Park Agency and environmental organizations.

The meeting , which is not open to the public, will be held on campus on the afternoon of Thursday, January 28.

Phil Brown

Contributor Phil Brown was editor of the Adirondack Explorer from 1999-2018. When he isn't at his desk, he's usually out hiking, paddling, skiing, or doing something else important.

2 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    Have Protect the Adirondacks! run them. Why haven’t they stepped up to offer their services to the much needed VIC’s?

  2. Jim and Barb Halla says:

    I don’t understand how much savings could be achieved by closing the two centers when so much time is given by volunteers. The state proposes to get more land in the Adks, Catskills and Finger lake region when they are having a hard time managing what we have now. I wonder if the Wild Center would ever consider the two centers as satellite sites.

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