Landscape Cleanup at Baker Outdoor Center
Last month, members of our staff participated in a volunteer landscape cleanup and site walk for the Baker Outdoor Center rehabilitation project, which is located in Harriman State Park.. Owned by the State of New York under the Office of Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation, it is managed jointly by the State and the Palisades Interstate Park Commission. Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) is entering into an agreement to rehabilitate and manage Baker Outdoor Center, bringing the currently abandoned facility back to life. Tighe & Bond and Halvorson | Tighe & Bond Studio have supported AMC on this project since 2021, providing civil engineering and landscape architecture services. The project will renovate a century-old camp site into a regional outdoor destination with 36 cabins and lodges as well as waterfront recreation opportunities at nearby Lake Sebago with a focus on providing increased accessibility to the facilities and amenities at the Camp.
At the landscape cleanup, the volunteers removed dead leaves and other debris from an area surrounding the existing cabins and other buildings in order to prevent rot on the wooden structures. The ongoing effort to remove invasive plants, primarily Japanese barberry, was also begun on the site.
The event began with a presentation from Senior Landscape Architect Sean Ragan, who spoke about the proposed improvements and site considerations. Proposed improvements include a redesigned welcome center, additional parking, and new accessible connections to the major camp amenities. The outdoor center is located on a steep hillside, with the highest-elevation cabin being 103 feet above the shore of Lake Sebago, posing a challenge for those with disabilities to maneuver the site.
The completed Baker Outdoor Center will feature waterfront recreation opportunities, including a swimming area and kayak rental. In order to facilitate these waterfront activities, improvements will be made to the beach area. The existing historic boathouse will also be restored.
During the cleanup, our staff spoke with volunteers and discussed ideas for site improvements. The cleanup also provided an opportunity to review the current conditions of the site, including trees, understory vegetation, structures, and stormwater management techniques.
Halvorson | Tighe & Bond Studio has previously collaborated with AMC on the development of the award-winning Highland Center in Crawford Notch, NH. Our firm provided master planning services for the Highland Center site, as well as designing an innovative “learning playscape” near the lodge.