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

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