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High Peaks access upgrades planned at Tahawus

August 23, 2019
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Outdoors Writer ( , Lake Placid News

NEWCOMB - The Open Space Institute, which owns a couple hundred acres around the ghost town of Tahawus, has announced upgrades to the area, which offers a southern access point to the popular High Peaks Wilderness Area.

OSI bought about 10,000 acres of the former mining lands in 2003 but transferred much of that land to the state to be added to the Forest Preserve in 2008. OSI retained ownership of 212 acres to preserve historic structures and build interpretive signs and trails.

Included in the historic structures is the MacNaughton Cottage, which plays a role in U.S. history. The cottage was built in the mid 1800s, but in 1901, then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was staying in the cottage when he received word that President William McKinley was dying after having been shot in Buffalo several days earlier. Roosevelt set out from the cottage on his famed midnight ride to the presidency.

Article Photos

The MacNaughton Cottage, where then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was staying in September 1901 when he was alerted to the imminent death of President William McKinley, will be renovated to house an outfitting business under a new Open Space Institute plan.
(News photo — Justin A. Levine)

"Our real goal is to provide an alternative High Peak access point for hikers," OSI Vice President for Communications Eileen Larrabee wrote in an email. "We anticipate that the Tahawus entry will offer a different type of Adirondack experience and will hopefully take some of the pressure off the more heavily used trailheads and trails.

"We are also planning to rehab MacNaughton Cottage and looking to bring in an outfitter to support the needs of hikers and paddlers."

In addition to the outfitter, OSI and the town of Newcomb will rebuild the Upper Works parking area to offer bathroom facilities and a new entrance kiosk, install more interpretive signs with the history of the area, and may make improvements in the area of the Blast Furnace, a mammoth stone structure built on the banks of the Hudson River in early 1850s and stabilized by OSI.

"With this Tahawus improvement plan, we are looking to better accommodate the growing number of people coming to explore the High Peaks - and in doing so improve the hiking experience," OSI President and CEO Kim Elliman said in a press release. "By providing an alternative point of entry to the High Peaks, we are hoping to better disperse visitors to the area and protect the region's hiking trails and precious natural resources."

"Over the years, our partnership with OSI has proven to be an effective and fruitful way to improve our community," town of Newcomb Supervisor Robin DeLoria said in the release. "OSI is to be commended for its efforts to protect the forested Tahawus property, preserve and interpret the site's important Adirondack history, and for adding much needed visitor amenities which will serve Adirondack residents and visitors - while spurring economic activity in our region."



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