The Paul Smith's College VIC opened in 1989 as a state-funded facility - one of two centers created by New York State so local residents and visitors would get to know the natural ecosystems of the six-million acre Adirondack Park. For two decades, the Paul Smiths VIC and the Newcomb VIC served both tourists and local residents, providing a wide range of public programs, many of them free, thanks to tax-payer funding.
New York State curtailed funding to both visitor centers in 2010.
- The Newcomb VIC was transferred to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and became the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC).
- In January 2011, Paul Smith's College, which owns the land on which the VIC building is located, agreed to take over the Paul Smiths VIC.
The Paul Smiths VIC was reopened under the auspices of Paul Smith's College in the summer of 2011. Many of the programs that made the Paul Smiths VIC popular under state management have continued under Paul Smith's College management, with free public access to the trails in the warmer months and an expanded, fee-based winter trail network for skiers and snowshoers in the winter. The revitalized VIC has also branched out into a wide range of new activities, linking the center more closely to the regional arts community and to the College and offering meeting and event rental opportunities.