Saratoga County

Disability-accessible campground opens after 7 years of work

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has opened a new fully handicapped-accessible cam

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has opened a new fully handicapped-accessible campground on the western shore of Schroon Lake, DEC officials announced Tuesday.

The Scaroon Manor Campground and Day Use Area, designed from scratch to be accessible, covers 241 acres at Taylor’s Point, on the border between the towns of Chester in Warren County and Schroon in Essex County.

The campground’s 60 campsites, rest rooms, showers, picnic areas and boat launch are all handicapped-accessible, DEC officials said.

“We are thrilled to offer the public a one-of-a-kind campground that has been designed from the ground up to provide access to the natural beauty of the Adirondack Park to people of all abilities,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said at a ribbon-cutting Tuesday at the campground.

Work on the site began in 2004. Crews with Warren County and the towns of Chester and Schroon helped with construction, hoping their communities would see the economic benefits from new campground users.

“We look forward to a boost to the regional economy as campers shop and dine in the area during their vacation,” Martens said.

State Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, R-Willsboro, both praised the new campground.

“Scaroon Manor is a real treasure that is now accessible to all and that is something wonderful to celebrate,” Little said.

New York state bought the property in 1967 to develop as a campground, but no facilities were built on the site until now.

Prior to its acquisition by New York state, the site had a long history as a privately operated resort, going back to 1865, when Charles Taylor opened a hotel and guest cottages on the point.

The resort was known as Taylor’s on Schroon. The property was purchased in the early 1920s by Joseph Frieber, a restaurateur from New York City who developed a major resort named Scaroon Manor. At its height, the resort included approximately 135 buildings, and was a destination of the wealthy. Under a later owner, it closed in 1962.

The state sold or burned the buildings on the property after acquiring it in 1967. Interpretive signage at the campground will tell some of the history, though.

State officials said the new campground was designed from scratch to comply with the requirements of the federal American with Disabilities Act.

“The campground presents an unparalleled opportunity for people with disabilities to access and fully appreciate the beauty of the North Country,” said Karen A. Thayer, executive director of the Southern Adirondack Independent Living Center.

The campsites have accessibly designed fireplaces and picnic tables, and smooth, hardened surfaces to ease mobility for those with wheelchairs or walking aids. The boat docks and fishing pier are also accessible.

Construction on the campground began in 2004 and was a collaborative effort among DEC, the Warren County Department of Public Works, the towns of Chester and Schroon, state inmate work crews, Adirondack Park Agency staff, volunteers and contractors. The day use area opened to the public in 2006.

The campground has access to two miles of state-owned shoreline along the lake.

“The two miles of shoreline on Schroon Lake and the signage interpreting its past history as the world class Scaroon Manor resort will make it a popular destination for tourists,” said Chester Supervisor Fred Monroe.

The campground is about three miles north of Pottersville, or five miles south of the hamlet of Schroon Lake. A map of the campground and the day use area is available at DEC’s website.

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