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Loon Race, Guide Boat Celebrate Summer at Newcomb Campus

Historic 'Arbutus Beaver' returns to Rich Lake

The Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC) kicks off the summer season with plans for its second rubber loon race and the return to Newcomb of a 100-year-old Adirondack guide boat May 25.

The two events will be the centerpiece activities of the AIC's second annual Loons and Logs Day, celebrating the AIC's second year of operation as part of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry's (ESF) Newcomb Campus

The guide boat is the Arbutus Beaver, a distinctive piece of Adirondack cultural history, once owned by Archer Huntington, In the 1930s Huntington and his wife, Anna, donated the land that is now the ESF Newcomb Campus.When they left Newcomb this guide boat went with them. The boat was built by Warren Cole of Long Lake in 1902. The college since located it and it was restored this winter by Mason Smith of Long Lake. The boat will be launched in Rich Lake at 1 p.m.

The rubber loon race, the capstone event of the day, is the only race of its kind in the United States.

"Common loons migrate back to their breeding grounds in the Adirondacks in the spring. Our rubber loons will be back in action, too," said Program Coordinator Paul Hai.

Dubbed the "Loon Drive," the race made history last year as the first race ever to use all American-made rubber waterfowl. The 1,000 loons were manufactured by CelebriDucks of California.

The Loon Drive will begin at 3 p.m. May 25, when the loons drop into the Rich Lake outlet and float 400 yards to the finish line. Prizes will be awarded to those who sponsored the winning loons; other prizes will be awarded through a drawing. All proceeds will support educational programs at the AIC.

Activities begin at 9:30 a.m. May 25. The schedule is as follows:

9:30 to 10:15 a.m.: Tools of the Timber Trade

Christine Campeau of the Adirondack Museum will lead an exploration of logging tools old and new including a selection of common and unique implements from the museum's collection.

10:30 a.m. to noon: Meet a Working Forest

Have you ever wondered just what it looked like before and after the forest was harvested to produce napkins, lumber, paper towel or pellets? Hai will lead a walking tour and discussion of ESF recent white pine plantation research harvest along Route 28N. Sturdy shoes are recommended for short hike into the research stands.

Noon: lunch break

Pack a lunch and enjoy it on the Rich Lake beach or enjoy a meal at the Newcomb House, High Peaks Kitchen or Scoops. You could also get supplies at WD's and eat at the beach.

1 p.m.: Guide Boat Launch

The Beaver goes back in the water at Rich Lake.

2 p.m. Latest on Loons

Dr. Nina Schoch, wildlife veterinarian and coordinator for the Biodiversity Research Institute's (BRI) Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, shares new findings in BRI's ongoing research of the common loon in the Adirondacks.

3 p.m.: 2nd Annual Loon Drive!

The only race of its kind in the world, the custom-designed and made-in-America loons tumble into the Rich Lake outlet and race 400 yards to the finish line. Prizes donated from local businesses will be awarded to the first three loons across the line, and others will win prizes during the drawing at the reception. Sponsoring a loon helps support educational programming at the AIC.

4 p.m. Reception

Gather at the closing reception for more door prize drawings, enjoy refreshments, hear about upcoming programming, meet new staff and thank supporters as we celebrate the start of ESF's second full year operating the AIC.

For additional information on the race and other events please email aic@esf.edu or call the AIC at 518-582-2000.