HARRIMAN STATE PARK, N.Y. – The Appalachian Mountain Club is starting the summer camping season with a bang.
On Monday, the Fourth of July, the organization began welcoming guests to its newly renovated outdoor center, tucked away on 64-acre Breakneck Pond in Harriman State Park.
The club and the Palisades Park Commission plowed $2 million into fixing up the 1929 lodge, a former youth camp.
The facility, which is open to the public by advance reservation, has family cabins with private or shared baths, bunkhouses, tent platforms and three-sided shelters.
There are separate spaces for group meetings and a dining hall with waterfront views.
According to the club, the center is an “ideal destination” for large gatherings such as Scouting, school, faith-based and youth groups, family reunions and corporate outings.
There is also a designated swimming area, floating dock with an enclosed wading space for children, an outdoor patio and open air pavilion.
The club’s investment in the center “speaks volumes about our commitment to getting more people outdoors close to home in the New York metro area,” said John D. Judge, its president and chief executive officer.
The club and the park commission have a common goal, Judge said, which is “revitalizing state park resources and providing increased access for exploring these beautiful, natural places.”
Guests also have access to canoes and kayaks and the park’s extensive trails, including nearby Pine Meadow Lake, Cranberry Mountain, Buck and Breakneck Mountain Trails, with connecting trails to the Long Path.
The commission’s executive director, James Hall, called it “a stunning place with a special, secluded quality” that's still easy to get to.
The center will be a base for club programs and activities, including its Youth Opportunities Program, which serves urban and lower-income communities in the New York City area.
The club’s teen volunteers will clean up the 2-mile-long Pond Loop Trail.
It plans to build backcountry camping sites and will partner with the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference to maintain state park trails.
Club programs that will be open to the public include: yoga, canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, and hiking.
Its Teen Wilderness Adventures program, which takes participants on backpacking trips on the Long Path and Appalachian Trail, will be expanded.
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