Fort Drum Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation hosted a Remington Park open house Dec. 3 to show community members fun and convenient ways to relax and schedule vacation time without the hassle of travel by staying on post. Right: Abby Shutter, recreation assistant with Fort Drum FMWR, answers questions from community members during the open house at Oates Overview Lodge. Attendees could enter a drawing to win a free "Sweetheart Staycation” in February. (Photos by Mike Strasser, Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs)
Fort Drum FMWR staff shows how community members don’t have to go far for a fun getaway
Fort Drum Garrison Public Affairs
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Dec. 4, 2020) – Fort Drum Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation staff hosted a Remington Park open house Dec. 3 to show that community members don’t need to go far for that special getaway or to beat the winter blues.
Given how the COVID-19 pandemic has made “staycations” fashionable, Troy Larock, Remington Park manager, said that this was the perfect time to present on-post opportunities.
“Everyone knows that travel is a little challenging now because of COVID-19, and we’re trying to let people know you don’t have to put yourself through that stress,” he said. “There’s plenty to do right here on post. You can still have fun and be safe at the same time.”
Larock said that the open house was a chance to talk with Soldiers and family members about recreational lodging, the RV lots, hiking trails and more. He said that Fort Drum FMWR has 35 cabins and nine cottages for rent, as well as two lodges suitable for unit functions and family gatherings.
“You’ll often get parents who will hire a babysitter and rent a cabin for a weekend, or a family that just wants to get out of the house and spend time together,” Larock said. “It’s not going to be like going to a motel with maid service, but the cabins are really comfortable, and it has everything you need for a nice getaway.”
Abby Shutter, FMWR recreation assistant, said that she has also seen fathers who take their children for overnight stays.
“That’s kind of nice to see them giving mom a break,” she said. “Or they will rent a lean-to, build a fire, and teach their kids how to rough it outdoors. So, we wanted to let people know that they can plan these little staycations throughout the year.”
The cabins are spacious and pet-friendly, with a dog park as well as playgrounds nearby for children. Larock said that they use hospital-grade cleaners to sterilize the lodgings after each use.
“Our main customer base for recreational lodging has been Soldiers and families on PCS (permanent-change-of-station) moves,” he said. “This time of year, before COVID-19, our cottages and cabins would be full of family members who have traveled from all over to visit Soldiers and families stationed here.”
He said that the hiking trails are groomed throughout the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. If people don’t own their own equipment, they can rent it from Outdoor Recreation.
“The trails are all marked, and there are maps conveniently located along the way so you can get your coordinates,” Larock said. “People love walking the trails and seeing all kinds of wildlife. A lot of Soldiers will use the trails to do PT (physical training) on their own.”
Shutter said that as picturesque as Remington Pond can be, many community members don’t realize they can kayak, canoe or fish in these waters.
“You can have a lot of family fun without having to go far,” she said.
Larock also wanted to inform community members about the Oates Overview Lodge and Lloyd’s Landing Lodge, which are normally available for large-group events.
Overlooking scenic Remington Pond, the lodges are decorated in the Adirondack style and can be rented for events ranging from promotion and retirement ceremonies, family readiness group meetings, weddings and other family gatherings.
However, with current COVID-19 guidelines limiting social gatherings to 10, he said that they are not able to accommodate the typical requests.
“I’ve had so many people drive by a lodge and then ask what it is used for,” Larock said. “So we wanted to promote the lodges during the open house, even if the timing isn’t perfect.”
This event marks the trifecta of FMWR open houses in recent weeks, which started with Outdoor Recreation and the Auto Skills Center.
“The intent of the FMWR open houses is to showcase our programs and activities to Soldiers, family members and civilian employees who may not be that familiar with our venues,” said Sharon Addison, Fort Drum FMWR director.
She said that the open houses highlight how FMWR strives to provide events and activities for all members of the community. She said that, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to inform the public that there are still safe and enjoyable opportunities on post.
“Remington Park is the third of several open houses we plan on hosting,” Addison said. “Stay tuned for similar events next year that will feature our fitness facilities, library and bowling center.”
For more information about Fort Drum FMWR recreational lodging, visit https://drum.armymwr.com/programs/recreational-lodging.