By MIKE LYNCH
The two former state-owned interpretive centers received state funding this year.
The state doled out $180,000 to the Paul Smith’s College VIC in Brighton and $120,000 to the the Adirondack Interpretive Center in Newcomb, which is run by SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
The Adirondack Park Agency ran both centers until 2010, when budget cuts required the agency to transfer ownership. The Paul Smiths’s center opened in 1989 and the Newcomb center opened the following year. They were created to provide the Park with environmental education centers and to draw visitors away from more popular destinations, such as the High Peaks.
Shannon Oborne, Paul Smith’s College chief marketing officer, said the money will support overall operations at the VIC. She said the two big expenses are providing environmental education programs and doing maintenance on winter skiing and snowshoe trails.
The Paul Smith’s College VIC typically has about 25,000 visitors annual, she said. Most of those come in the summer months.
Paul Hai is the associate director of the Northern Forest Institute, the education and outreach program of SUNY ESF’s Newcomb campus. He said ESF will work on developing new trails and accessibility projects and other improvements. There are also plans to expand the main exhibit.
Hai said the Newcomb center gets about 7,000 visitors annually into the building. That doesn’t include the 3,000 students who visit the center, or people who just use the trails.
Hai said the Newcomb center is excited to get the funding. “When we took over the centers, they didn’t come with any funding,” he said. “We needed to figure out how to operate the centers on the existing money that we had.”
Oborne said this is the first year the Paul Smith’s College VIC has operated in the black since it took over the center.