Inside North Country

North Country Region 

The North Country is a rural region that spans from the eastern shores of Lake Ontario to the western shores of Lake Champlain and the northern part of the region adjacent to the Canadian border. It includes 7 counties and is the largest of New York's economic development regions in land area and the smallest in population. The region is anchored by two modest-sized cities, Watertown in the west and Plattsburgh in the east.

A massive 107,265 acres of the North Country is occupied by Fort Drum, a U.S. Army military reservation that is home to the 10th Mountain Division (light infantry), as well as approximately 1,500 additional military personnel. Fort Drum is a major training center for reserve component forces, and units of the New York Army National Guard rank among the post’s most frequent customers.

Among its assets, the North Country is home to several state and private universities located throughout the region as well as the Adirondack Park, the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States – greater in size than Yellowstone, Everglades, Glacier, and Grand Canyon National Park combined.

The North Country’s location as gateway to US NY is a key factor in the attraction of new manufacturing operations to our region. Yet this region has been transforming over the past two decades from its traditional manufacturing, mining and agriculture sectors to niche industries in those sectors as well as emerging sectors like biotech.


General Overview
Area – 11,913.57 square miles
Population (2009) – 429,092
By county:
    Clinton: 81,618
    Essex: 37,686
    Franklin: 50,274
    Hamilton: 4,923
    Jefferson: 118,719
    Lewis: 26,157
    St. Lawrence: 109,715

2009 Labor Force:197,100
2009 Per capita income: $21, 211

Market Access

Two major interstate highways provide access. The eastern part of the region is served by the scenic Adirondack Northway, I-87, which connects Albany and the New York State Thruway with Canada. I-81 passes through the western part of the region, connecting it with Syracuse and the New York State Thruway to the south, and with Highway 401 and major population and industrial centers to the north in Canada.

Air Service
Passenger service is provided at airports in Watertown, Ogdensburg, Plattsburgh, Massena and Saranac Lake.

Rail Service
Commercial rail service is provided by CSX and Canadian Pacific. Amtrak operates passenger service on the eastern portion of the region from Montreal south to New York City.

Bus Service
Regular service is provided by Greyhound Bus Lines and Adirondack Trailways in several communities throughout the region.

Port Services
Many North Country businesses use the nearby Port of Montreal, the second-largest inland port in North America. The I-87 Trade Corridor provides easy access to the ports of New York City, Albany, and Montreal. The Port of Ogdensburg provides deep-water port facilities for ocean-going vessels via the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Champlain Canal, part of the New York State Canal System, connects Lake Champlain and Montreal with the Hudson River and New York City, and serves recreational boaters.


Notable hospitals in the North Country:
Adirondack Medical Center, Saranac Lake
Canton-Potsdam Hospital
Alice Hyde Medical Center
Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital Medical Center, Plattsburgh
Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center, Ogdensburg
Massena Memorial Hospital, Massena
Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown


Principal Industries
Pharmaceutical Bio tech med
Materials Processing - Metals & Plastics
Transportation Equipment
Wood Products
Food Processing


Colleges and Universities
The North Country Region is home to eight colleges and universities, with more than 20,000 students enrolled, including five four-year and three two-year colleges and universities. Clarkson University is home to the state's Center for Advanced Technology in Advanced Materials Processing.
Clarkson University, Potsdam
Paul Smith's College of Arts and Sciences
St. Lawrence University, Canton
SUNY College of Technology at Canton
SUNY College at Potsdam
SUNY College at Plattsburgh


Local Utilities
National Grid
New York State Electric & Gas Corp.


North Country Region – Top Ten Employers (Private & Public)
Champlain Valley Physicians
Claxton-Hepburne Medical Center
Fort Drum
International Paper Company
NYS Dept of Correctional Services
Samaritan Medical Center
Stream Global Services
St Lawrence University