Vanderwhacker in Essex County
Everything, Maps, Photos

The Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest is a 92,000-acre (370 km2) tract made up of almost 2 dozen non-contiguous parcels that are designated as Wild Forest by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in the central Adirondack Park. The area contains 44 ponds and small lakes, and portions of the Hudson and Boreas Rivers. The area supports hiking, birding, snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, hunting, camping, canoeing, and fishing. The area is served by NY-28.


Map: Cheneny Pond And Lester Flow

Map: Cheneny Pond And Lester Flow

You can drive down to Cheney Pond via an unmarked road along Boreas Road, on top of a hill with a pull-off. The road is somewhat rutted but there is a drive-in campsite at the bottom of the road. From there, you can paddle across Cheney Pond and follow a narrow but navigable stream down to Lester Flow, which is little more then a still water in the Boreas River. At one time, Lester Flow was a all flooded but the dam is long gone, just leaving the still water. Also on the blog under this category are orthphotos with campsites and roads shown.

Map: Newcomb Lake and Moose Pond

Map: Newcomb Lake and Moose Pond

Camp Santanoni was created by Robert C. and AnnaPruyn. A successful Albany banker and businessman, Mr. Pruyn used the camp for entertaining guests and as a refuge from city life. Mr. Pruyn entertained many guests, among whom were Theodore Roosevelt and the great grandson of the author James Fenimore Cooper along with many other prominent persons.

At its height, Camp Santanoni comprised over 12,900 acres. The Camp contained three distinct groups of buildings:

The Gate Lodge Complex
The Farm Complex
The Great Camp Complex, as well as the 4.7 mile carriage road now referred to as the Newcomb Lake Road.
Camp Santanoni is one of the oldest and largest of the early great camps. It was the first to be comprehensively designed as a unit by a professional architect. The leading architect, Robert H. Robertson, who was a Yale classmate of Pruyn's, designed the Main Camp Complex. Mr. Robertson was responsible for the design of many early skyscrapers in New York City and elsewhere. Mr. Robertson also designed William S. Webb's Nehasane and buildings at Shelburne Farms in Vermont, also for Webb. The Artist's Studio, the Gate Lodge, the Creamery and renovations to the Farm Complex were designed by the prominent architectural firm of Delano and Aldrich. The operational layout and working systems of the Farm Complex were designed by Edward Burnett who was an expert on "scientific farming". Contemporary assessments of Camp Santanoni characterized Mr. Pruyn's wilderness camp as the "largest and finest" in the Adirondacks.

The property was acquired by the State of New York in 1972. In 1991 the State, after intensive efforts by the Town of Newcomb, Adirondack Architectural Heritage, the Preservation League of New York State, legislators and other groups, agreed to preserve the remaining structures as an educational exhibit in a manner consistent with the camp's Forest Preserve setting. The area was formally classified as historic and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000.