Eco-Friendly Summer

Vacation Destination


A family vacation is a great way to reconnect while spending quality time together... a time to get away from the everyday hustle and enjoy making fun, new memories together. But a fun family getaway doesn't need to leave a huge carbon footprint! And, best of all, you don't need to spend a lot of green to reap the benefits of an eco-friendly vacation.

Your Green Vacation Itinerary Awaits...

From lodging and attractions to zero-emission activities, Tupper Lake has an eco- and budget-friendly itinerary for you!

Eco-Friendly Accommodations

Solar panels line the roof at Shaheen's Motel in Tupper Lake

Shaheen's Motel, a family owned and operated lodging property in Tupper Lake, NY has been making strides when it comes to green practices. Since 2009, Terrance & Robyn have been diligently looking at their property to see where they can implement a wide variety of eco-sustainable initiatives. They started by participating in a green certification pilot program, benchmarking their usage and tracking their carbon footprint. As small businesses owners, "going green" wasn't something that could happen in an instance. Recently I had to opportunity to chat with them about their eco-friendly initiatives and as they described the steps they took, it reminded me of how one would convert their own household to be more energy efficient. Only as opposed to a two or three bedroom house, they were looking at over 30 guest rooms! But the daunting task, didn't slow the Doolen's down - within a few short years they were certified by Audubon International as a Gold Certified lodging property. So what are some of the practices they put into place? Here are just a few of the major and minor steps they have taken to reduce their carbon footprint:

  • Installation of energy star lights in all guest rooms, parking lot, and throughout the building.
  • Shaheen's Motel has curbed their electrical usage with the installation 10kWh, 40 panel rooftop solar panel system (see photo above).
  • Terry isn't just an owner and operator, I learned that he is also a pretty good plumber as well! They have installed 36 1.28 gallon water efficient toilets, new shower heads, and faucets throughout the property, and Terry did all of the labor.
  • They recycle, compost, and have installed a rain barrel to help water the meticulously maintained grounds (including the new butterfly garden).
  • A solar cover now heats the pool.
  • Appliances have been replaced over time with Energy Star rated unites. From washing machines and vacuums to hair dryers and mini-fridges, "green minded" purchasing is always top-of-mind at Shaheen's Motel.
  • Energy Star and NFRC certified windows have been installed throughout the facility.
  • In addition to using environmentally safe products to clean the guest rooms, they also participate in the"Global Soap Project," where all of their used guest soap is sterilized and sent off to people who lack access to it around the world.

Terrance & Robyn Doolen, owners of Shaheen's Motel, stand next to two of their new "house bikes."

The list goes on, but these small business owners are are not stopping, as each year it seems like they are up to something new to continue to reduce their carbon footprint. New in 2015, they are starting a trial "classic cruiser" bicycle program in which they have purchased a small fleet of bikes for guests to use while they are staying at Shaheen's Motel. Like all projects, they are starting off small scale to see how it will work, and if successful they plan on increasing the number of bikes available.

Green Attractions

Main building at The Wild Center, showing the solar roof to the left (The Wild Center photo)

Did you know that Tupper Lake is home to the first LEED Certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) museum in New York State? The Wild Center's state-of-the-art facility not only houses exhibits that highlight the beauty of the natural world, but it has been built in way that it can educate the world on how humans and nature can exist and thrive together. From a living green roof and massive solar panel installation to recycled flooring and renewable heat system, The Wild Center is an example for green building... seriously, even the parking lot has gone green at this eco-minded attraction!

Visitors to the 54,000-square-foot museum are invited to take a self-guided or staff-led tour of the facility's energy-saving and other green practices. In addition, the museum hosts a variety of eco-minded events annually from green building workshops to youth climate summits. Learn more about The eco-friendly Wild Center by reading through the comprehensive listing of their green facility.

Planting the green roof on the bio building at The Wild Center. (The Wild Center photo)

Reducing Light Pollution

Stargazing at The Adirondack Public Observatory

One of the first lessons we all learned about conservation may have been mom and dad yelling at us to turn off the lights when you leave a room. Well, the Village of Tupper Lake took this simple advice to a whole new level. Back in the early to mid-2000's, under recommendation of Adirondack Public Observatory founder (and village lineman), Marc Staves, the village made a conscience effort to reduce the exorbitant amounts of wasted light projected off of the streetlights and into the night sky. It wasn't an overnight transition (no pun intended) but the Village slowly converted to a "dark sky friendly" lighting system. The majority of the conversion consisted of switching the type of lenses used in the street lamps. Rather than using the traditional sag lens which scatters lighting around, they now use flat lenses that point the light downwards. The result not only effected the amount of light polluting the night sky, leaving that ominous glow you see over populated areas, but also allowed for the Village to reduce the amount of electricity used to light area roads and sidewalks. Another benefit in preserving the dark skies is making them even more appealing for stargazing. Want to learn more? Check out this blog and learn about Tupper Lake's dark skies and the Adirondack Public Observatory.

Eco-Minded Outfitters

Raquette River Outfitters annual waterway cleanup (Raquette River Outfitters photo)

With so much water surrounding Tupper Lake, paddling, boating, swimming and fishing are most definitely a popular summer pastime. With the waterways being such an enjoyable and much needed asset, it is nice to know that Tupper Lake is home to an eco-minded outfitter. Raquette River Outfitters on Route 30 in Tupper Lake not only sells and rents canoes, kayaks and a wide assortment of outdoor gear, they also are the place to stop for first-hand, expert knowledge of the area waterways. But what they provide doesn't stop there... you will also see them out every spring helping to keep the waterways free of trash and debris that manages to show its pesky face in the pristine waters of the Adirondacks. How do they do it? By boat of course. Each year they lead by example and head out by canoe to collect trash and debris. "I love paddling for leisure and transport, but this type of searching and collecting feels like a very special mission that everyone appreciates," states Anne Fleck and Rob Frenette, owners of Raquette River Outfitters, in a blog post after the 2014 spring cleanup. Appreciate it we do! Thanks to their efforts, visitors can enjoy paddling clean waters around Tupper Lake, which is one of the many low-impact recreational opportunities Tupper Lake has to offer.

Anne Fleck from Raquette River Outfitters helps load a canoe into Simon Pond.

Stay, Play and Learn!

From eco-friendly accommodations to low-impact activities, Tupper Lake has a great vacation package for the eco-minded traveler. But it is more than just that... From learning how a small "Mom & Pop" have transformed their facility, to a community that has identified that preserving the dark skies is a priority, and a natural science center that is focused on studying how the interrelationship of the natural world and people thrive together, this eco-friendly destination offers more than just a low carbon footprint on your summer vacation. It is a learning environment where you can take away tips on how we all can be a little more green in our everyday life! So, join the effort, and start planning your green summer vacation today.

In related ADK Park news:
Green before Green was in
Staying Green in gold
Civil War-era farmhouse = great Green getaway
We know Green: body, mind & lodging
This newish hike will have you seeing Green


best time for the observatory by season/lodging

My wife and I are very interested in making a journey to Tupper Lake to viw the stars as it were and ould like to know whwn is the most appropriate time (by season) to comd up to Tupper Lake and whetehr the observatory has accomodations that are observatory oriented. Thank You.

Observatory and accomodations

When is the best period and season to view the evening skies at the Tupper lake Observatory and does the observatory have accomodations and where to stay while visiting the observatory?

Lodging & Accomidations

Thank you for you inquiry Peter. The Observatory does not have their own accommodations, however there are a variety of options available within a short distance. Here is a link to the area lodging options:

As for the best season for stargazing, technically speaking, winter is the best season because the lack of humidity and moisture in the air creates the clearest skies. However, in reality, the skies of the Adirondacks are dark - so, stargazing is great all year long (as long as the weather is clear).

Happy Stargazing!

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

If you like this, you may want to share it:

E-Newsletter Signup Form