Wanakena, New York

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The Wanakena Footbridge over the Oswegatchie River
The Ranger School at Wanakena

Wanakena is a hamlet located on the shore of Cranberry Lake in the town of Fine in St. Lawrence County, New York, United States. Tourism is a major industry in the area; a small year-round population is supplemented by an influx seasonal residents each Summer. It is the location of the SUNY-ESF Ranger School.


The town was founded in 1902 by brothers Herbert and Horace Rich, founders of the Rich Brothers Lumber Company. Rich Lumber purchased 16,000 acres (65 km2) on the southwestern shore of Cranberry Lake, and constructed a lumber mill. Housing for the millworkers was built in part from lumber salvaged from the company's abandoned Pennsylvania lumber operation. There were up to 1500 workers at the Rich Bros. mill and associated industries. The company built a school in 1912. A logging railroad was constructed connecting Wanakena to the Carthage and Adirondack Railroad at Benson Mines, starting operation in 1905.

A 171-foot (52 m) suspension footbridge built between the village and the mill for company workers before 1908 is still extant, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Wanakena Footbridge. It is one of the longest suspension foot bridges in the United States. The Wanakena Presbyterian Church is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[1]

The New York State Ranger School was established in 1912.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 

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Coordinates: 44°7′59″N 74°55′18″W / 44.13306°N 74.92167°W / 44.13306; -74.92167