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September 6, 2013

Guide Boat Regatta to feature special vessel

NEWCOMB — The guideboat Beaver returned to Newcomb this summer after an absence of more than 70 years.

In use when the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry property was site of an Adirondack Great Camp, the vessel will be one of the centerpieces of the second-annual Guide Boat Regatta, set for 11 a.m. Saturday and hosted by the Adirondack Interpretive Center. 

People who own classic Adirondack boats, along with those who want to learn more about them, are invited to the event.

Last year, some 40 people gathered at the center with their guideboats for the first regatta, a day of programming about the craft’s historic role in Adirondack history and a day of rowing on Rich Lake.

“Everybody loves guideboats. They are literally an icon of the Adirondacks,” said Paul Hai, program coordinator for the Northern Forest Institute, in a press release.

ONE OF ORIGINAL FLEET

Beaver was constructed in 1902 by Warren Cole, a boat builder from nearby Long Lake. 

The boat was purchased by Anna and Archer Huntington, who owned Arbutus Great Camp in Newcomb and later donated the property for use by the college.

Hai learned about the boat two years ago when a colleague at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake discovered a boat collector had the Beaver and was considering selling it. 

Hai’s associate at the museum saw the owner’s photos and knew the plates bearing the names Beaver and Arbutus 8 marked the boat as part of the Huntingtons’ original fleet.

EDUCATIONAL AIM

The owner agreed to sell the boat to the college, in part, because he wanted the craft to be used for educational purposes.

“The owner was excited about the kinds of work we are doing,” Hai said.

“We wanted to use the guideboat for education, for putting people on the lake, to be able to teach them about not just boat design and this great cultural artifact but also to teach them about lake ecology and the human history here, forestry, wildlife management — all these things we’re so involved with here at the college.”

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