College takes over VIC, state lease expires

Among those local groups that have expressed interest in picking up where the APA left off is the Adirondack Park Institute, who previously stated they would like to continue the educational mission the VIC provided.

Aaron says the API has received grant funding to carry on educational programs. Attempts to reach representatives at the institute were unsuccessful Tuesday afternoon.

Andy Flynn worked for the APA as senior public information specialist from 2001 to 2009 and organized "save the VIC" protests last spring. He praised the college for taking the lead on securing the facility's future.

"I hope they're able to keep it open economically, in the long run, which I'm sure they have a plan for," Flynn said. "That will serve their purposes and public education as well. I hope they take full advantage of the volunteer corps that's been out there for 20 years educating the public about the Adirondack Park. Together with the Adirondack Park Institute, I think they'll make a great team serving the public."

APA Executive Director Terry Martino says the agency is pleased that a positive outcome has resulted from the closure of the facility.

Agency spokesman Keith McKeever says the APA will begin seeing savings in its budget in the coming year.

College officials say students will have access to the lands for educational purposes. Spokesman Ken Aaron stressed that the trails at the Paul Smiths VIC will remain open to the public.

In a related story, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry reopened the former Newcomb VIC this week after taking over programming at the beginning of the year.

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