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