Cascade Welcome Center connects ADK to more visitors

Henry Liebers, Cascade Welcome Center coordinator, stands behind the desk of the new Adirondack Mountain Club facility on state Route 73 Tuesday morning, July 5. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

LAKE PLACID — While most visitors at the new Cascade Welcome Center on state Route 73 this past weekend were more curious about the time of Monday’s Fourth of July fireworks than family-friendly hiking trails in the area, Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) staff are glad to answer any questions the traveling public may have on their vacation.

ADK bought the Cascade Ski Center in January, took over the property in April and opened the Cascade Welcome Center in early June, offering visitor information, restrooms and retail on a highly traveled roadway between Keene and Lake Placid.

“The objective in purchasing this building was to have a more visible presence on a main road in Lake Placid,” said Henry Liebers, Cascade Welcome Center coordinator. “Our target audience here is more of the novice hiker, people coming to the area for the first time looking for information on what hikes they can do.”

By all accounts — compared to ADK’s firmly established High Peaks Information Center (HPIC) at its nearby Adirondak Loj property on Heart Lake — the Cascade Welcome Center is a work in progress. There is room for more information, more retail and more programs.

“We’ve got a lot of ideas right now for how to update things here and better serve the community,” Liebers said. “We don’t really have a big master plan yet. But essentially we just want this to be a world-class education center for year-round use.”

Cascade Welcome Center (News photo — Andy Flynn)

ADK expects to expand the center’s offerings to include outdoor skills workshops, youth programs and community events. More information about services will be revealed after ADK finalizes the center’s business plan.

The HPIC also offers visitor information, restrooms and retail, but its target visitor there is a more seasoned hiker, someone who has made the decision to head into the High Peaks Wilderness Area for a day hike or a backpacking trip, or a quick trip up Mount Jo. It boasts the largest trailhead in the Adirondack Park due to its proximity to the state highest peaks, including Mount Marcy (tallest) and Algonquin Peak (second tallest).

The target visitor for the Cascade Welcome Center is the everyday tourist, whether a hiker or not. It’s a place to meet all kinds of visitors and answer questions about the Adirondack Park, including nearby recreational opportunities. It’s also an ideal chance to introduce the public to the Adirondack Mountain Club, if they’re already not familiar with the 100-year-old organization.

David Thomas-Train of Keene Valley stopped by the Cascade Welcome Center Tuesday morning, July 5, to see the new facility. He’s a longtime member of ADK’s Keene Valley chapter and the author of ADK’s “Eastern Trails” guidebook.

“It’s an ideal spot for ADK to be,” Thomas-Train said. “I loved Cascade Ski Touring, knew all the people. … I think ADK can have a great public presence here. My advice in the membership input survey was to keep as much of it the same as you can.”

From left, Henry Liebers, Cascade Welcome Center coordinator, talks to David Thomas-Train of Keene Valley at the new Adirondack Mountain Club facility on state Route 73 Tuesday morning, July 5. (News photo — Andy Flynn)

In the winter, ADK plans to offer cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on its 12 miles of trails, continuing the traditions of this property, which has been popular with locals for generations. The Jubin family ran the ski center for decades; Art Jubin opened the property as the Cascade Ski Touring Center on Jan. 27, 1979. Ski and snowshoe rentals will be offered, and more information about the winter operations will be available closer to ski season.

The Cascade Welcome Center is located on state Route 73 (4833 Cascade Road) between the village of Lake Placid and the Olympic Sports Complex at Mount Van Hoevenberg. It is about 1.5 miles south of the Adirondack Loj Road, which leads travelers to the Adirondak Loj property. The building is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday.

ADK is offering interpretive walks at Cascade Welcome Center every Saturday at 1 p.m. until mid-August.

For more information, visit ADK.org or call 518-837-5047.

Weather board at the Cascade Welcome Center (News photo — Andy Flynn)

Inside the Cascade Welcome Center (News photo — Andy Flynn)