NEWCOMB The Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) at Newcomb recently opened 1.5 miles of cross-country ski trails that lead to a newly constructed Connector Trail to the Camp Santanoni Historic Area. The ski to Camp Santanoni is one of the most popular winter recreation opportunities in the Essex County town of Newcomb, and more than 8,000 people visit the historic property each year. The trail follows an old road to the 19th century Great Camp on the shore of Newcomb Lake. Skiers traditionally start their 9.8-mile round-trip at the Gatehouse parking lot off state Route 28N. Now skiers can return to a cup of hot chocolate and a restroom instead of a cold vehicle, said Newcomb VIC Environmental Educator 3 Rynda McCray. The Connector Trail gives Santanoni-bound skiers the option of using the VIC as a warming hut. The extra trail adds mileage to the Santanoni ski trip, for a total of 12 miles from the Newcomb VIC to Camp Santanoni and back. Skiers leave the VIC and follow the northern section of the Sucker Brook Trail (about 0.4 mile) to the 1.1-mile R.W. Sage Jr. Memorial Trail. About halfway along the Sage Trail, skiers will find the 0.7-mile Connector Trail to the Santanoni road. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation finished construction of the Connector Trail earlier in 2007. Great Camp Santanoni is located in the 32.2-acre Camp Santanoni Historic Area, which is surrounded by the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. New York state acquired the Camp Santanoni lands in 1972 as part of a 12,900-acre purchase agreement, and the buildings are now placed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The Historic Area encompasses the Gatehouse Complex, the Farm Complex, the Great Camp Complex and the Newcomb Lake Road. Albany banker and businessman Robert C. Pruyn built the main lodge at Camp Santanoni in 1892-93 and entertained prominent guests such as former New York Gov. Theodore Roosevelt. Since 1993, Adirondack Architectural Heritage has spearheaded restoration of the Santanoni buildings. When the Newcomb VIC opened in 1990, the Winter Trails System was only available for snowshoeing. Now, 1.5 miles of the 3.6-mile trail system is open for cross-country skiing. Ski rentals are not available at the VIC; however, the facility loans out snowshoes for use on its property. The New York State Adirondack Park Agency operates two VICs, in Paul Smiths and Newcomb, which are open year-round from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas and Thanksgiving. They offer a wide array of educational programs, miles of interpretive trails and visitor information services. Admission is free. The Newcomb VIC is located 12 miles east of Long Lake on Route 28N. For more information about the VICs, log on to the centers Web site at www.adkvic.org.