From May until October every year, guests with a myriad of skills and backgrounds make the 3.5-mile pilgrimage to Johns Brook Lodge (JBL). Most come looking for a comfortable place to stay and hearty meals to fuel their adventures while spending a few nights with the nearby music of Johns Brook.
In recent years JBL has seen a lot of positive changes which would not have been possible without such dedicated staff, volunteers, and numerous donations. Some of these changes include new pine paneling in the lodge great room, new bunks and mattresses, odorless bathrooms using a vault privy system, improved water filtration system, a brand new front porch, convenient public water spigot, renovated Henry Young staff cabin, and the addition of weekend Naturalist lectures.
In 2016, through the donation of the late educator Stephen C. Frauenthal, JBL also added several interpretive signs throughout the property. These signs are eye-catching and provide pertinent information on bear safety, alpine ecosystems, hiking and camping etiquette while maintaining the integrity of a wilderness setting. In the coming years JBL hopes to update its solar system as well. Guests are certainly not roughing it beyond the 3.5-mile trek from the nearest trailhead! The NYS Department of Health dictates the standards and, without warning, inspects the building and its installations every year.
Neal Burdick, long-time editor of Adirondac Magazine, spent the summers of 1969 and 1970 as a crew member (“hutboy” in those days) at JBL. “The health inspectors usually showed up in street shoes, and sometimes sweat-soaked business suits, and had terrible blisters,” he recalls. “They were not hikers!”