Newcomb Sportsmen’s Club members enjoy a picnic at the Newcomb town beach Aug. 17.
Members of the Newcomb Sportsmen’s Club weren’t able to celebrate their 60th anniversary in 2012, so they held a party on Aug. 17 this year at the town beach. The club is now 61 years old and has seen a major shift in the way families recreate in this part of the Adirondack Park since 1952.
“We were a hunting and fishing club when this all started, and over a period of time it’s all changed,” said Newcomb Sportsmen’s Club President Joe Novak. “Now we’ve become a hunting, fishing and family club.”
The Newcomb Sportsmen’s Club leases about 7,000 acres of land west of County Route 25 — the road to Tahawus — from Upper Hudson Woodlands ATP, LP, which contracts with the owner, F&W Forestry Services, Inc., to manage the lands. The property borders the Camp Santanoni Historic Area to the west and will soon border state land to the north acquired from the Finch Pruyn purchase. That land is currently leased by the 4,100-acre Santanoni Club.
“We will be the last club at the base of the High Peaks,” Novak said. “This will open up that land for us to enter the back side of it, to hike, hunt and fish that area. We can get there quicker than anybody else can.”
Hunting and fishing were the mainstay activities at the Newcomb Sportsmen’s Club for decades, and they were enjoyed mainly by men. Now women are members, and activities are more diversified.
“You don’t have the fathers, the grandfathers and the sons hunting like they used to.” Novak said. “And I think that’s changed the club and the way we operate. It’s becoming more of a family thing because the history of hunting has changed dramatically since the 1960s and 1970s. Before when somebody came up here, they’d have their father, their brother and their uncle. Their sons and everybody would hunt. Now it’s completely different.”
Kayaking, bird watching and hiking are now just as popular as hunting and fishing.
“A lot of clubs lost memberships because they didn’t open it up to more recreational uses like snowmobiling, four-wheeling, hiking and kayaking and taking in women members. We’ve done that,” Novak said.
There are about 80 full paying members in the Newcomb Sportsmen’s Club, not including a couple dozen honorary members and two military members. And members don’t have to live in Newcomb.
“In fact, there are very few members from Newcomb,” Novak said. “We have a lot of people from downstate. Most people come from Albany and south.”
One plus is the proximity to Great Camp Santanoni, which is about a 2-mile hike from the club’s property line, as opposed to a 5-mile walk from State Route 28N. The club used to lease about 700 acres on the Hudson River side of the Tahawus road, but they recently lost that to state acquisition.
Many members construct camps or cabins on the Club property. Camping is allowed on the Club in designated areas. The club has 15 miles of roads and several miles of trails. All Club roads are available to hikers, bikers, equestrians and ATVs. In the winter, the roads are used by snowshoers, cross-country skiers and snowmobiles. Canoeing and boating are allowed on the waters of the Club. Club members can canoe any navigable stream such as the Hudson or Newcomb River. The Club also allows row boats and small boats with electric trolling motors on the Beaver Flow. A Club Lodge is available to members and their guests. Also, a day use area is provided on the shores of the Beaver Flow, complete with a picnic pavilion. The Club often holds meetings, open houses, and family events at the pavilion.
The Club sponsors an annual Family Day, when members are encouraged to bring their families for food and fun. Family Day includes a fishing derby, games and educational outdoor activities.
For more information, visit online at http://newcombsportsmensclub.com.