More than $12M investment planned to increase outdoor recreation opportunities
(l-r): Joshua Laird, Executive Director of Palisades Interstate Park Commission; Nicole Zussman, President and CEO of the Appalachian Mountain Club; New York State Senator Bill Weber; Matt Davidson, Deputy Commissioner of New York State Parks and; Sally Drake, Executive Director of the Natural Heritage Trust
Today, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) broke ground on a more than $12 million project to transform a shuttered camp on Lake Sebago in New York’s Harriman State Park into a vibrant, tranquil destination that will afford more people in the Tri-State area the opportunity to be outdoors. When completed, the Baker Outdoor Center will feature 36 cabins and nine buildings, all available for public use.
“At Appalachian Mountain Club, we envision a world where the outdoors occupies a place of central importance in every person’s life, no matter who or where they are,” said Nicole Zussman, president and CEO of AMC. “The Baker Outdoor Center will engage a whole new audience in that vision and give a new generation of enthusiasts an opportunity to chart their outdoor journey.”
Less than an hour from Midtown Manhattan, the Baker Outdoor Center will be a place where everyone, regardless of skill or past experience, can enhance their enjoyment of and appreciation for the natural world. The center will cater to both short overnight and longer vacation stays, as well as waterfront recreation opportunities – including boating, sunbathing, fishing, and swimming – and hikers, trail runners, and cyclists. The design and programming will provide fun, engaging activities for individuals and the whole family.
“AMC offers something for everyone, unique to the individual,” said Zussman. “This an opportunity for everyone to discover the benefit of being outdoors.”
AMC opened the nearby Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center in 2016 and continues to see high demand for the property. With the success of its first location, AMC signed another 40-year lease with New York State Parks and Palisades Interstate Parks Commission (PIPC) to completely renovate and redevelop the old Baker Camp as a second, much larger outdoor center to serve the greater New York area.
“PIPC is excited to partner with the Appalachian Mountain Club once again, this time on the revitalization of Baker Camp on Lake Sebago in Harriman State Park,” said Joshua Laird, executive director of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. “AMC is America’s oldest outdoor conservation group and PIPC is the Nation’s first bi-state partnership established to protect and conserve natural lands, so I cannot think of a more perfect partnership to bring Baker Camp back to life as a destination that will be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Named for financier and philanthropist George F. Baker, Baker Camp was constructed in 1927 as a retreat for employees of the First National Savings Bank. It later became an overnight destination for city dwellers looking for a quick escape, and for generations was a sought-after family experience. Over time, the camp fell into disrepair, and it closed in 2017.
“As one of the oldest of Harriman State Park‘s historic group camps, Baker Camp’s revitalization fulfills a tremendously important priority for the Palisades,” noted Laird.
“The Greater New York region deserves even more access to the outdoors,” said Zussman. “I am thrilled to participate in today’s groundbreaking ceremony and can’t wait to share the exciting progress as this project grows in the coming years.”
About the Appalachian Mountain Club
The Appalachian Mountain Club is the nation’s oldest conservation and recreation organization, committed to fostering the protection, enjoyment, and understanding of the outdoors. Since 1876, AMC has encouraged generations to deepen their passions for the outdoors and helped protect some of the most precious natural environments in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Learn more at outdoors.org.