The case for adding a whitewater park wave feature in downtown Saranac Lake:
The village of Saranac Lake is already known as a premier destination for all manner of canoeing, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding opportunities. With two first-rate paddlesport outfitters at each end of the village, the only canoe wilderness in the park a short drive outside of town, and the month-long series of events that makes up Celebrate Paddling ADK, it’s little wonder that paddlesports enthusiasts drive for hours to spend time on the waterways surrounding Saranac Lake. Having a human-made whitewater feature on the Saranac River would further enhance its statewide marketability as a place for paddlers in the north country to recreate.
Nationwide, the outdoor industry injects approximately 890 billion dollars into the economy, and helps support a wide variety of industries and businesses not specifically connected with the outdoors. Paddlesports make up a large portion of this outdoor industry, and in few other places is this as evident as the Adirondacks. Paddlers often spend money at restaurants and bars after getting off the water, and visit local paddlesports shops to upgrade and repair gear and network with other paddlers. Having a whitewater feature in the village would bring together this paddling community, and further cement Saranac Lake’s name as a “paddling capital” of the Adirondacks.
Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters, St. Regis Canoe Outfitters, Paul Smith’s College, North Country Community College, North Country School, The Lake Placid Outing Club, The Northern Forest Canoe Trail, and The Saranac Lake Youth Center already offer a variety of educational outlets such as youth kayak programs, private and group instruction, historical paddling tours, and semester-long paddlesport courses. A whitewater feature on the Saranac River would greatly improve the place-based educational outlets these organizations utilize in their curriculum. Furthermore, it would open the door for new place-based curriculum, all of which is experientially rooted in the local community.