North Country Alliance  

what we do
    loan fund

who we are

    board & committees
    regional stats

contact us
    315.268.3778 x29
    North Country Alliance
    65 Main Street
    Box 8561
    Clarkson University
    Potsdam NY 13699-8561


The Area

The North Country of upstate New York is the state's largest economic region in area, but the smallest in population. Its seven counties have much in common, but also represent very unique and distinctive local economies. The region does share much of the natural beauty of the mountains of upstate New York and a close tie with its Canadian neighbors to the north.

This beautiful area is bordered by Lake Champlain on the east, the Adirondack Mountains to the south, the Canadian border to the north and Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway to the west. Comprising 11,572 square miles, and a population of over 429,000, the region has a median household income of about $44,000 and median home value of about $69,000 (in 2000). It is an economical place to live, and has a productive workforce that is eager to learn and adapt to new jobs.

The Adirondack Mountains are well known for their winter recreational activities, but the region boasts many opportunities for year-round fun. The region's many lakes have some of the best boating and fishing available anywhere in the U.S. Mean daily temperatures in the region range from 14.5° F (-10° C) in January to 69° F (20.5° C) in July.

Thousand IslandsLake Placid, famous for hosting the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, continues to attract athletes for training and international winter events. The region is home to a number of museums, including the Remington Art Museum in Ogdensburg and the Adirondack Museum of History in Blue Mountain Lake. Crime rates in its small communities are low. The many school systems serving the region meet or exceed the high New York State standards.

The region's proximity to major markets in Canada and the U.S. make it ideal for transshipping and manufacturing. Canadian firms look to the region's communities for branch office and manufacturing locations. The market exceeds 86 million people within a day's drive (500 miles/800 km) of the North Country.

Traditionally, the North Country's economy has been reliant on natural forest, agriculture and mineral resources. These led in the region's long history to growths in paper, dairy and aluminum products. More recently, the economy has expanded into apparel, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and the transportation industry.

Tourism has always played a vital role in the North Country economy, through the Adirondack Park, Thousand Islands, St. Lawrence Seaway and Champlain Valley.


Two major utilities serve the region with competitive and flexible electric power rates and gas in many areas. A few municipalities offer their own electric service at competitive rates. For more information on power providers, contact National Grid or New York State Gas and Electric (NYSEG), Massena Electric Department, and Plattsburgh's Municipal Lighting Department.


Two major interstate highways provide access to the North Country. Route I-81 connects the western-most city of Watertown to Syracuse and other points south. The Adirondack region is served by I-87, which connects to the Canadian border on the north and the New York thruway I-90 on the south.

A regional commuter carrier, connecting Massena, Ogdensburg, Plattsburgh, Saranac Lake and Watertown to hubs in Albany, Boston, Philadelphia, Burlington, and Vermont, provides passenger air service throughout the region.

Adirondack ParkBoth CSX and Canadian Pacific provide commercial rail services. Amtrak operates passenger service from New York City to Montreal, along the Champlain Valley corridor on the east side of the region.

Greyhound Bus Lines and Adirondack Trailways provide regular bus service in several of the major communities in the region.

The North Country has excellent port facilities in Ogdensburg, serving the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Port of Montreal is easily accessible from throughout the region, as well.


Nine two and four-year colleges and universities serve the North Country.

Clarkson University (private), Potsdam
Clinton Community College
Jefferson Community College
North Country Community College
Paul Smith's College (private)
Plattsburgh State University
St. Lawrence University (private), Canton
SUNY Canton College of Technology
SUNY College at Potsdam

Both Adirondack and North Country Community Colleges have campuses in a number of communities throughout the region.

Health Care

The region is home to several hospitals:

Potsdam/Canton Potsdam-Canton Hospital
Elizabethtown Elizabethtown Community Hospital
Lake Placid Placid Memorial Health Center
Lowville Lewis County General Hospital
Malone Alice Hyde Medical Center
Massena Massena Memorial Hospital
Ogdensburg Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center
Plattsburgh Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital
Saranac Lake Adirondack Medical Center
Ticonderoga Moses Ludington Hospital
Watertown House of Good Samaritan Hospital

Other communities are served by outpatient clinics and offer transfer services to these providers.

At A Glance | regional stats

  • 11,572 square miles
  • Population of over 429,000
  • Median household income of about $44,000
  • Mean daily temperatures in the region range from 14.5° F (-10° C) in January to 69° F (20.5° C) in July
  • The Canadian market exceeds 86 million people within a day's drive (500 miles/800 km) of the North Country
  • Nine two and four-year colleges and universities with over 28,000 students
  • Excellent area hospitals
an alliance of businesses and economic development organizations working together
to grow the northern New York region. [Click here to join our partnership.]
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