Camp Little Notch, a former Girl Scouts summer camp in the town of Fort Ann, will reopen this summer as a private camp for girls.
Friends of Camp Little Notch, a nonprofit organization, has signed an agreement with the Open Space Institute to lease, with an option to purchase, the site where many of the group’s members attended summer camp as girls.
“We are, all of a sudden, getting a lot of interest,” said Julie Schwartz, camp director.
Schwartz, who attended the camp when she was younger and was camp director when it was operated by the Girl Scouts, said parents from the Capital District and Northeastern states are contacting the camp about its summer programs. The camp will offer programs similar to those offered by the Girl Scouts. The 443-acre camp property includes an 80-acre lake, hiking trails, and access to mountains.
The Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York had operated the camp for 70 years before closing it in 2008. The Girl Scouts own other camp property in that part of the Adirondacks.
“This project is about preserving spaces where people can connect with nature, build community, and find their strengths,” said Ellen Tuzzolo, the executive director of Friends of Camp Little Notch in a prepared statement.
“We are honored to be stewards of this beautiful land and are thrilled to be able to provide invaluable opportunities for generations of future campers and their families,” Tuzzolo said.
The protection of Camp Little Notch, which is located between Lake George and Lake Champlain in the southeastern corner of the Adirondack Park, started two years ago.
In the fall of 2010, the Open Space Conservancy, the Open Space Institute’s land acquisition arm, purchased the 2,364-acre Camp Little Notch property. In March 2011, the conservancy sold 1,921 of the acres to Meadowsend Timberlands Limited, a sustainable forestry company.
Meadowsend, which is based in New Hampshire, is a family-owned partnership created in 1992. The company owns 30,000 acres of forest land in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, according to company officials.
The company’s vision statement is that it “does not sacrifice ecological vitality for economic success.”
The third phase of the project, which ensures the long-term protection of the property, is to sell the remaining 443 acres to the Friends of Camp Little Notch, according to a statement from the Open Space Institute.
The sale of the camp, like the sale of the forest tract to Meadowsend, will be subject to a conservation easement that limits development while permitting camp uses.
The Friends have signed an agreement that gives them three years to raise the $1.1 million purchase price. The group’s current lease payments are being credited toward the acquisition cost. The friends group launched a fundraising campaign last year with a three-year goal of raising more than $2 million.
“This landscape has captured the hearts of hundreds of Girl Scouts over the years, and it is fitting that the Friends of Camp Little Notch are involved now in the permanent protection of the site,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute.
“This project, through each of its phases, has created jobs and tax revenue for the town of Fort Ann while preserving an Adirondack institution,” Elliman said in a statement.
Camp Little Notch is running three one-week sessions for girls ages 7 to 17, and a two-week session for girls ages 9 to 17. Activities include nature exploration, low and high ropes course adventures, hiking, yoga, cookouts, the arts, social consciousness education and aquatics.
Prices for one week of camping range from $450 to $750, Schwartz said.
Camp Little Notch also offers wilderness trips for girls ages 14 to 17, and a three-week Counselor-in-Training program for girls ages 16 to 17. Interested parties can contact the camp director Schwartz, by phone at (518) 306-9239 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camp Little Notch and the surrounding forestlands are dominated by northern hardwoods, an 80-acre lake that is drained by Mount Hope Brook, and a variety of rustic camp structures. Its lands are ideal habitat for a variety of Adirondack flora and fauna, including black bear.
The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural, and historic landscapes to ensure public enjoyment, conserve habitats, and sustain community character.