Deerfoot Lodge is God’s Place #140

In 1971, the Governor of NY, Nelson Rockefeller, established the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), for the purpose of planning all future development within the Adirondack State Park. Within a few years, the APA established a policy whereby DL, and probably similar organizations, could not expand its facility without prior APA approval, and under no condition more than 25%. When I became the Director of DL, I do not think any Deerfoot person was aware of the policy, one reason being no new buildings were built between 1971 and 1981.

Deerfoot Lodge learned of this regulation when, in 2007, DL applied to the APA for the approval to rebuild the bridge which crosses the Whitaker Lake outlet. We knew that any construction in or over water did require a permit. The APA requested a current map of the DL property and facility be mailed with the application to update the bridge. The permit was granted, and with the permit came the request that DL submit all construction plans to the APA for approval.

The next year facility manager, Ken Hoffman, requested approval for plans to expand the Island Long House, and included the requested, unchanged property/facility map. In reviewing this request, the APA noticed the considerable unapproved construction. The APA was not happy! The APA send Ken a letter saying they were turning the matter over to the legal department, and they would be sending an inspector to look at all unapproved, illegal construction. The letter also reminded Ken the APA had the authority to require DL to tear down all unapproved construction.

Yes, we prayed!!!

When the inspector arrived, Ken took him on a tour of the DL facility – which included 10 structures and 9 building expansions for which the APA had never issued permits.

As Ken and the inspector talked, the inspector expressed appreciation for what DL was doing for young people, and the manner in which the facility had been expanded. As the inspector left, he told Ken his report to the APA would be written in such a way that prior construction, which should have received prior approval, was approved. He also clearly told Ken that all future construction must have prior APA approval – and not to expect many future permits.

We can be thankful that the leadership of Deerfoot Lodge was ignorant of the APA regulations. If we had known, and permits had been applied for, perhaps most of the nine new structures built and 10 building enlargements made during the past 25 years would never have been possible – and DL would be a very different place!

Straight in from the dining hall entrance is this simple cross-stitch:

This Is His Place

Work Weekends – in time-lapse – to 2011

At the bottom of this IPWG is a history of the physical development of DL on Whitaker Lake, beginning 1933…

When Dad Kunz moved DL from the “Oregon” location on the Kunjamuck River, we know that the ball field was cleared of its trees by Connie Baehr, his 1922 Buick, and several others on staff. Most other construction was “contracted out”, although men from the Plymouth Brethren Chapels built Dun Loggin.

Soon after I became Director (1982) Memorial Day and Columbus Day work weekends began to grow. The focus was preparing the facility for summer camp, and then closing things down in the fall. In our early years, Sally Jo would prepare the food for each weekend in our home in Greenville, we would load the food into coolers, and take it to DL. Our daughters, and wives who came with the work weekend men, assisted her in the kitchen at DL with final prep and clean-up.

In 1985 Brent Karner, then 25 years old, agreed to build “The Gazebo” during the summer. This log structure, with a roof 16’ above the ground, was to be located at the entrance to the DL facility – about 500’ from Founder’s Lodge.

This construction project triggered an intense Board of Director discussion as to the appropriateness of having DL staff and volunteers getting into the construction business. Points of discussion included:

  • DL was a ministry focused on building young godly men….and volunteers were primarily older men
  • When volunteers are used, it is difficult, too impossible to control quality
  • Building construction increased DL liability exposure

I was asked to prepare a written report supporting the idea of having DL volunteers do building construction. After consideration of my report, and further discussion, the Board gave the go-ahead on a tentative basis.

The work weekends provided the opportunity for people to come together and focus their interests and abilities on the maintenance and development of the DL facility which, each participant knew, was for the building of godly young men. Most arrived on Friday in time for dinner at 7:00 and stayed through Monday breakfast.

The Sunday morning Breaking of Bread service was, perhaps for everyone, the highlight of the work weekend. For about 90 minutes we celebrated together the new life we have in Christ because of the death of Jesus Christ our Lord. With no human leadership, different men read portions of the bible, sometimes with brief comment, they believed would encourage our worship. Great hymns of the faith were sung a cappella, and then the bread and the juice were shared.

As friendships developed between like-minded people, the number of those who came increased. This past Memorial Day work weekend 123 came to work…and work hard. Well over 2000 hours were given during the weekend. On Monday morning Ken Hoffman, facility manager/maintenance director, brought the brief devotional. He pointed out that all of the work we were doing would, in time, decay…rot. But the godly young men the Lord uses DL to build will live, and live eternally. What a joy to work together to build His Kingdom.

As we live In Partnership With God, let us never forget this truth: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” — Matthew 6:19-21

List prepared 2004

Dates of Deerfoot Lodge Development at Whitaker Lake Best guess – corrections welcomed!!

  • Pre 1930 – Old Hardwood built by Halsey Page. There was also barn into hill where camp fires now burn.
  • 1933 – Before camp opened, Halsey Page built a bunk house – which became craft cabin. Drinking water was from a spring 100’ towards lake from Ole Hardwood – the “refrigerator” was a hole dug next to spring.
  • The ball field cleared by Connie Baehr using 1922 Buick to pull stumps – this had been location of saw mill – no big trees – many 4” saplings. Then Nathan Slack used 60 lb dynamite on rocks – big blast of large rock went up…and down through Ole Hardwood roof. Indian Island set up for oldest boys
  • 1934 – After first summer bunk house built = this became the craft cabin…no side porches
  • 1935 – Halsey Page was hired as US forest ranger for Hamilton County – sold his two buildings to Dad Kunz. Mom Kunz replaced Mrs. Page as camp cook
  • 1936 – DL incorporated
  • 1939 – DL purchased from IP 46 acres on mainland – 2500’ shoreline + Indian Island – $17,000
  • 1946 – DL purchased from IP 560 more acres – property on North side of lake sold to DL families to pay for property
  • 1946 – Dining Hall built – kitchen where tripping is now.
  • All about 1946: Antlers built as recreation building uses included including wrestling and boxing -built by 2 men from Maine. Cal Wilbur tent replaced by log cabin – replaced by log cabin -2001
  • 1950 – Original Eulie Davis and Halsey Page
  • 1950 – Lookout tent, where mom and dad Kunz stayed, replaced by 1 room log cabin – logs from Island blow-down
  • 1950 – Rt.10 from Speculator to Indian lake paved, became rt. 30 – road into camp shorted from 2 ½ miles to 1 mile
  • 1953 – Mom and Dad Kunz retired
  • 1956 – One story Health Center
  • 1964 – Long House built
  • 1964 – Founders Lodge built
  • 1966 – Dining Hall – 1st kitchen addition
  • 1969 – Lookout – 1st addition = 2 bedrooms
  • 1973 – Lookout – 2nd addition = 1 bedroom became hall to 2 new bedrooms and loft
  • 1981 – Dining Hall – 1st staff porch addition
  • 1882 – Chief Chuck Gieser became Director of DL
  • 1982 – Rifle Range re-located – shelter built – rebuilt 2001
  • 1982 – Camp Craft moved from woods by dining hall to outside road that goes from parking lot to maintenance.
  • 1982 – Survival moved from left of craft building to outside of road that goes from parking lot to maintenance
  • 1983 – Porches built around craft building
  • 1983 – Archery Range relocated from present volley ball court…which originally was clay tennis court
  • 1984 – Lookout – interior walls pine paneled
  • 1985 – Gazebo – bouldering wall added 1995
  • 1987 – Health Center -2nd floor
  • 1888 – Hutch cabin built – work weekend extended to week – built from log kit (week began with rain, ended in snow)
  • 1989 – Maintenance Building – 1st addition – auto shop
  • 1992 – Guide TiPis
  • 1993 – Long House crushed by snow – rebuilt like original – yellow birch saplings bent to form arched roof
  • 1994 – Mortimer B Lane Log Cabin – Allan B Mackey hired to teach – 16 people, 8 days & again next fall.
  • 1994 – Generator Bld up on hill – …new generators
  • 1994 – Water system – 2nd well drilled – 43 gpm – 5000 gal water tank (prior to this – water from spring house, then from lake used – chlorinated
  • 1995 – Basket Ball Court enlarged
  • 1995 – Craft Cabin enlarged- open area at back – 26 people, one weekend – trees cut, peeled, building built.
  • 1997 – Jack Gill Lean-to built on Point
  • 1997 – Wild Life building
  • 1997 – Challenge Course built
  • 1998 – Spring House moved across lake to property given by Masterson’s – became wild life blind
  • 1999 – Diving Raft
  • 2000 – Dun Loggin – porch became kitchen – porch added
  • 2000 – Waldorf rebuilt – log structure…composting toilets
  • 2001 – Wildcat replaced with log cabin
  • 2001 – Cal Wilbur log cabin – replaced 1946 log cabin
  • 2001 – Store paneled – counter replaced
  • 2001 – Rifle Range Shelter re-built
  • 2002 – Black Bear replaced with log cabin
  • 2002 – Porcupine replaced with Log cabin
  • 2002 – Flushing Tree rebuilt
  • 2002 – Sailing Shed
  • 2002 – Staff Parking Lot
  • 2003 – Dining Hall – staff porch enlarged
  • 2003 – Dining Hall kitchen enlarged – food storage – larger walk in cooler
  • 2003 – Log Quiet Place
  • 2003 – Lookout down stairs windows replaced
  • 2005 – Owl completely rebuilt
  • 2005 – Guide Lodge – radical remodeled “garage”
  • 2008 – Maintenance Building mechanical greatly enlarged
  • 2009 – Lookout loft paneled
  • 2011 – Road around back side of maintenance building – loop

Unknown information

  • Porch put on Ole Hardwood
  • When Bunk House became Craft Cabin
  • Porch added to Founders
  • When following buildings 1st built: Bob Lines, Cal Wilbur, Eulie Davis, French Louie, Black Bear, Porcupine, Wildcat, Wood Chuck, Otter, Mink, Beaver, Wolverine, Timber Wolf, Dun Loggin
  • When Eagle was floated across lake from location of present Masterson cabin

Let us remember that all of the work listed above will decay

But the godly young men the Lord uses DL to build will live, and live eternally.