Biomass heating project at New York’s Enchanted Forest/Water Safari

Biomass heating project at New York's Enchanted Forest / Water SafariOld Forge Properties, including NY’s water theme park, Enchanted Forest/Water Safari (EFWS) and Water’s Edge Inn and Conference Center (WEI) is pursuing a switch to clean thermal energy with a biomass district heating system. This new system would consume 879 green tons of regionally sourced wood products annually, offsetting 5,960 mmBtu/year of #2 fuel oil.

OFP, a family-run, women-owned enterprise, has been working with the USDA Forest Service since Fall 2011 on the feasibility and design of this highly visible $2.2 Million capital investment project. This undertaking is a key initiative for OFP to reduce dependence on foreign fossil fuels, support the local economy, promote forest management, provide markets for low value timber, reduce net carbon emissions, and reduce energy costs. This enables OFP to protect its annual operating budget from fluctuations in oil prices. A further benefit to this effort is that it provides educational and economic development opportunities around renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Enchanted Forest/Water Safari has been a popular Adirondack Mountain tourist attraction since 1956. Well known mascot Paul Bunyan welcomes over 250,000 guests each season, while Water’s Edge Inn accommodates more than 11,000 overnight guests annually. Currently, EFWS uses oil to heat water for their water park in the summer and a combination of oil and propane to carry the heat loads of the WEI and other buildings in the winter. Feasibility analysis by the USFS’s Wood Education Resource Center (WERC) has shown that installation of the wood chip boiler system using proven technology could replace the existing systems in a cost-effective manner.

With estimated fuel cost savings of $89,000 in the first year alone, OFP will realize revenue to expand their enterprises, create new jobs and attract additional visitors to the Adirondacks. In addition to promoting the tourist economy of the region, the required wood products will be harvested from the abundant and renewable low-grade timber found in Northern NYS. Unlike costly fossil fuels, expenditures for locally produced woody biomass stay in the community and support jobs in our region.

In addition to the positive economic impact of this project, there are significant environmental benefits. Fossil fuels are replaced with renewable, woody biomass fuel. The OFP project is expected to offset 480 tons of fossilized carbon emissions annually. Markets for forest products provide incentives for healthy management of private forestlands and encourage open space protection.

This highly visible, innovative and transformational undertaking would be the first biomass district heating project on a commercial site in New York State. Sustainable, local energy produced within the Adirondack Park will be a national model for cost effective green energy and the “Cleaner Greener” economy of Upstate New York.

About Old Forge Properties

Old Forge Properties, Inc. is proud of its 56 year history as an innovative family owned and operated enterprise in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. From its early beginnings as a fairy tale themed children’s park to its growth into New York State’s largest water theme park, OFP and the Noonan family have a proven record of success and dedication to the community.

OFP is the largest private employer in the area. Employees are provided common-sense supports for success: seasonal employee housing options, transportation assistance, flexible scheduling, opportunity for advancement and child care for full year employees. OFP has numerous charitable donation programs, educational scholarships and a genuine commitment to the well being of the region.

Looking back at the history of this “Enchanted Forest” proves OFP’s success is rooted in sound business decisions and community-minded hard work. Looking to the future, it seems only fitting that the next chapter of growth will be fueled by the sustainable management of the same forest it has called home for over a half a century. Paul Bunyan would be proud!

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