State funding helps preserve Adirondack retreat

RAQUETTE LAKE — Work has begun to revitalize and preserve Great Camp Sagamore, the only Adirondack Great Camp that serves as an independent nonprofit dedicated to education and tourism.

The project, expected to be completed this fall, includes repairing roof leaks and roof deterioration, repointing masonry, stone chimneys and foundations and restoring the camp’s rustic bark siding. 

One of the structures to be rehabilitated is the camp’s open-air bowling alley, a project that includes repairing decayed log beams and rafters, repointing the stone chimney, restoring historic light fixtures and electrical service and refinishing lane flooring. 


The work is funded by private donations and a $238,650 grant awarded through Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Regional Council initiative.

“Great Camp Sagamore is one of the unique historical treasures of the North Country,” Garry Douglas, president of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, said in a news release. 

“Its future is an important part of our Regional Council’s commitment to the Adirondacks and to tourism, and we’re very pleased to be a part of securing this great landmark for generations to come.”

Sagamore was an early 20th-century wilderness retreat for the wealthy Alfred G. Vanderbilt family, one of several dozen built in the Adirondacks by Gilded Age industrialists. 

Still authentic to its original rustic architecture, it includes 27 wood and stone buildings in two adjacent complexes.

“With this important grant, we are able to address dire conditions at five of the structures that are viewed and used by the public each season and know that work done now will sustain tourism into the future,” Great Camp Sagamore Executive Director Beverly Bridger said in the release.


A recent study highlighted the importance of tourism to the Adirondack economy. Tourism generated 13.5 percent of labor income in six core Adirondack counties, and Hamilton County — where Sagamore is located — was the most dependent on tourism, with half of its labor income generated by that industry.

Cuomo established 10 Regional Economic Development Councils across the state in 2011, with two statewide rounds of funding so far including $1.5 billion in investments for more than 1,400 projects.

That funding, the release said, is creating or helping to retain an estimated 75,000 jobs. 

Great Camp Sagamore was awarded the $238,650 in the second round from the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Environmental Protection Fund.

Learn more about Camp Sagamore at:

For more information on the regional councils, visit: