Spearheaded by AdkAction members Scott McKim and Tyler Merriam, AdkAction has started the process leading to the design and construction of a Whitewater Park on the Saranac River, right in the Village of Saranac Lake. Years ago, there was a small whitewater feature there made from boulders which were arranged in the river, but it has been washed out. This new Park will be a permanent installation that includes a wave that paddlers can play and practice on. There aren’t many places like this in the North Country, so this should be a good attraction for whitewater boaters.
Recognizing the opportunity that the Downtown Revitalization Initiative presented (the $10 million grant that the State just awarded to the Village of Saranac Lake last year), with the help of many AdkAction members, board members, and the Cloudsplitter Foundation, we funded a feasibility study and conceptual design to see if the development of this park was a feasible idea for this location. Turns out, it is!
The Downtown Redevelopment Initiative (DRI) process has continued over the winter to select projects to submit to the State for approval. Projects that would have a positive impact on the economy and attractiveness of the Village rose to the top, and the Whitewater Park was included on the approximately $15 million list of projects sent to the state for final approval. The state will winnow that list down to the DRI grant amount of $9.7 million, with winners announced this summer. The Whitewater Park has a good chance to be approved, mainly because of its clear contribution to tourism and recreational opportunities of the Village and its ability to better activate the River Walk. Also, having the feasibility study and conceptual design in hand shows that we are serious about making this happen.
You can see the conceptual design for the Whitewater Park in the picture below, and the entire Feasibility Study is available here. The study analyzed the flows and other characteristics of the Saranac River, and it shows that there is plenty of water for a good wave. It would be a great addition to our community and all the boaters we’ve talked to are anxious to try it.
We hope you’re as excited about this project as we are. It will be a great addition to the Village, and will draw people for miles around.
This is the conceptual design for the Whitewater Park. It creates a chute for whitewater playing just downstream of the Rte. 3 Bridge.
This is the project location today. It’s also a great place just to enjoy the River!
This is a similar (but a bit larger) whitewater park out west that has been very successful.