Our History

The Haven at Star Lake is located on the shores of Star Lake in New York State’s majestic Adirondack Park. Created in 1892 as one of thefirst Forever Wild Forest Preserves in the nation, the Adirondack Park is a unique wilderness area. At 6 million acres the Adirondack Park is larger than several states in New England, bigger even than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Glacier, Grand Canyon and the Great Smokey National Parks combined. It is the largest publically protected area in the contiguous United States.The Adirondack Park boasts 3,000 lakes and ponds, and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams.The 46 tallest mountains within the park are called the High Peaks.The Adirondack Park has more than 2,000 miles of complex and beautiful New York hiking trails that cater to every skill level.These lands contain beautiful waterfalls, free-flowing lakes, rivers and reservoirs, hunting, fishing, boating, snowmobiling, virgin forest tracts, mountaintop wilderness vistas, and a variety of special habitats that will delight both the amateur and professional naturalist.

 

In the northwest part of the Adirondack Park you will find Star Lake, the most pristine lake in the Adirondacks. Theory has it that the many bays visually formed points to a star; and thus evolved the modern name “Star Lake”.Wallace’s 1894 Descriptive Guide described Star Lake with vivid prose. “Its waters are crystal, objects being discernible at great depth. It is apparently one vast spring having no visible inlet or outlet. This many-armed islet-adorned and hill-enriched little loch, fringed here and there with golden sand presents a lake picture of peculiar and entrancing loveliness.” With “PR” like this, Star Lake began to emerge as a resort area. The area became known as the “Catskills of the North” as many from downstate spent their vacations here. Many of the historic cottages on the lake take you back in time to when Grover Cleveland was President and families traveled by train and buggies to vacation together at one of the most special lakes in the Adirondacks.

Like much of the area, the charm of The Haven lies in its past. The Haven was a private camp through the 1920’s. From the 1930’s through the 1950’s it was operated as a Jewish Girl’s summer camp. In 1964 a not-for profit foundation supporting Potsdam College procured the property and developed it as a recreational facility for students and faculty of the college. It was during their ownership that major expansion and property improvements were implemented. The usage of the facility was ultimately broadened to include conferences, workshops, off-site classes and meetings. Potsdam continued to use the property until 2000 when Houghton College acquired the property. Houghton College operated the facility for approximately 10 years as a satellite educational facility specializing in environmental studies.

 

The Haven consists of approximately 40 acres of land and 311 feet of shoreline on the crystal clear waters of Star Lake.Nearly 75% of the property is wooded incorporating a number of nature trails. Located on the property are 17 buildings totaling over 20,000 square feet, many of which can be used year-round.The buildings include housing, dining, classroom and recreational facilities. The waterfront campus is ideal for easy access to lake side living, reflection and recreation. It is also within walking distance to community services that include: a beautiful and challenging public golf course, an indoor ice rink, ball fields, and a hospital.

 

The region is surrounded by wilderness.The Five Ponds Wilderness Area, immediately adjacent to The Haven is just one highlight of the region.It comprises one of the largest wilderness tracts in the Northeastern USA, containing 50,000 acres of old-growth timber that provide visitors with a glimpse of what the forests looked like in pre-colonial times. Running through Five Ponds is the Oswegatchie River which provides wilderness canoeing and kayaking. Hikers, backpackers, snowmobilers and other outdoor enthusiasts would find The Haven a great retreat and a staging area  for miles of exploration. Cross country skiing, ice skating, biking, fishing and swimming are just a few of the local recreational options available.

 

Within a short drive you can visit the high peaks region where you’ll find some of the most scenic trails anywhere in the country. The new Wild Center Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks in Tupper Lake is just 45 minutes away, and the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake is 1.5 hours away. You might also visit Lake Placid, home of the 1932 and 1980 winter Olympics, as well as Saranac Lake. They are an hour and 20 minutes to the east. For the truly adventuresome, some of the best white water rafting in the country is found on the Black River 1 and 1/2 hours to the West. Whatever suits your fancy, you’ll find it in the Adirondacks.