The Open Space Institute has announced plans to make $1 million in capital improvements at its historic 212-acre Tahawus property in the town of Newcomb, which is an increasingly popular southern access point for the High Peaks.
OSI said it goal is to improve overall public access to the Tahawus property, Henderson Lake, and the High Peaks; preserve and improve its historic structures; and deepen visitor engagement.
“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,” said OSI’s president and CEO, Kim Elliman. “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.”
OSI’s Tahawus improvement plan includes:
-- Working to redesign and expand the Upper Works parking area with the Town of Newcomb, which is providing an in-kind contribution toward the parking lot work. The upgrades include improved trailhead entrance amenities, new kiosk signage, and bathroom facilities.
-- Renovation of the MacNaughton Cottage and creation of space for a private outdoor outfitter for equipment rentals and guidance. Built in 1845, MacNaughton Cottage is the site from which Teddy Roosevelt began his midnight ride to the presidency in 1901.
-- Installation of interpretive signage that tells the story of the site and region’s history, which includes a preserved 19th century iron ore furnace.
-- With the initial stabilization of the blast furnace already completed, OSI may take additional measures to ensure this historic structure is around for generations to come.
Elliman said OSI would be pursuing private funds, grants and partnerships to fund the plan. One such partnership that has already been established is with the Town of Newcomb, which sees a potential economic boost from increased visitorship.
OSI acquired the 10,000-acre Tahawus tract to preserve it in 2003. OSI transferred most of the property to DEC, but retained 212 acres for education, historic preservation or recreational uses.