By MELISSA HART
An Adirondack retreat for University at Albany students is closing public access.
Located in Thurman in northern Warren County, Dippikill Wilderness Retreat has an unusual story: It’s the largest student-owned nature preserve in the country. Much loved by University at Albany students and alumni, this 1,000-acre wilderness retreat facility has been owned by the Student Association of the University at Albany since 1956.
The 10 cabins and campsites at Dippikill are open to reservations from UAlbany students and affiliates: alumni, faculty and staff. And until recently, the trails on the property were available to members of the public, too, for hiking, skiing and snowshoeing. But that changed recently, due to concerns of people abusing that privilege, and now Dippikill is closed to the public.
“Unfortunately, we have had a history of issues with the general public with regards to misuse and abuse of our property,” said Heidi LaPrairie, assistant director of operations at
Dippikill. “This includes foraging and removing items from the property, failure to register vehicles, and use and abuse of canoes and other property, which prevents fee-paying affiliates from using these items or fully enjoying the property.”
As a result, at its Aug. 5 meeting, Dippikill’s board of directors voted in favor of eliminating public access.
“Since Dippikill is owned, operated, and funded by Student Association, we always aim to ensure that our students and other affiliated guests are able to enjoy the property to the fullest extent possible,” LaPrairie said.
In order to tighten access, all visitors are now asked to confirm their connection to the college and register for a parking pass.
To help get the word out about the change, LaPrairie updated Dippikill’s page on the popular All Trails hiking website, marking the listing as private property: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/new-york/dippikill-ridge-trail. For those who haven’t heard the news yet, and who make the trek to Dippikill, LaPrairie and other staff are happy to recommend other area hikes.
“We are very fortunate in that we’re located near other trails,” she said, listing new trails at Gore Mountain, as well as Crane Mountain.
More information about Dippikill is available at https://dippikill.com.