The newest section of the St Lawrence County Multi-Use Trail will open August 3rd.
St. Lawrence County Trails organizers say the “center section” of the St. Lawrence County multi-use trail will open Aug. 3 creating a fun activity for locals, an economic boost to businesses and the preservation of state easement lands.
Following years of work and planning, 37 miles of new trails will be opened to ATV, UTV, hikers, horses and mountain bikers, in the towns of Colton, Clare, and Russell.
The St. Lawrence County Trails Board was formed by the county in 2008 to create this trail for quality of life for locals, increased tourism for local businesses and to protect the land through an organized place for people to ride, said Deb Christy, St. Lawrence County Trails coordinator.
“We started with a pilot trail system of 22 miles … we wanted to try it out before we got bigger…then we grew to 50 miles and will now have 120 miles of trails,” she said.
The trails are open for ATV users May 15 through Sept. 15 and year-round for hikers.
There is still work to be done to connect from Russell to Edwards to Pitcairn and Lewis County.
Who Can Ride
“We wanted to open the trail to all, but since we started we found out there are more users than we realized,” Christy said.
They did not count on Jeeps and dirt bikes, neither of which are allowed on the trails, she said.
Riders must be 16 years old to ride the trail system alone, she said. Youth ages 10-15 can ride with adult supervision.
Christy said safety courses are recommended for young riders with safety being key to all users of the trail system.
The First ATV Safety Course will be held Sunday Aug. 4 at the Racquette Valley Fish and Game.
ATVs must be registered and insured.
Where To Ride
The St Lawrence County Multi-Use Trail System would not be possible without private landowners that have offered portions of their land to be used as part of the trail.
The newest section of multi-use trail is a combination of private land, State Easement land, and small portions of town and county roads to connect. The trail is 37 miles one way with 26 miles on private and state easement wooded trails, 7 miles on back town roads and 4 miles on county roads. It will start at Racquette Valley Fish and Game in South Colton to Tooley Pond in Clare and on to Whippoorwill Corners Trail Head Parking in Russell.
Twenty-two miles are located on privately owned lands that are encumbered by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Conservation Easements (CE). The new stretch of multiple-use trail traverses the Grass River (51,000-acres), Long Pond (18,950-acres), and Tooley Pond (30,000-acres) CEs. The CEs are working forest easements that provide unique public recreational opportunities specific to each easement. The CE lands are owned by Molpus Woodlands Group (Grass River and Tooley Pond CEs) and Danzer Forestland (Long Pond CE).
The trail passes by hunting camps and all riders are asked to stay on the trail and not pull into camp driveways that are private property.
Maps will be offered at kiosks along the trail and at the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce. Maps will be available at local businesses soon, Christy said.
The new St Lawrence County Chamber Trails website www.STLCtrails.com has our current trail included and will be updating the new trail soon!
Supporting Small Businesses
“The whole point of this was to help support small businesses,” Christy said.
In South Colton Boyce’s Convenience Store for gas and Mahogany Ridge for a great meal In Clare the trail passes by Jocko’s Bar and Grill and our Trail head parking is in front of GT’s Restaurant in Russell.
Users are permitted to cross highways, but cannot ride along the side of the road unless markers and signs indicate so, she said.
The trail system should encourage additional new businesses opening.
Creating the Trail
Funding of the trails was through a combination of grants, help from county and towns involved, and donations, Christy said.
“All the labor was from volunteers and without them this wouldn't be possible,” Christy said.
Some towns donated things like gravel and other materials, she said.
“I really want to thank the Parishville ATV Club for the volunteers who made this happen,” she said. “I now hope that other local clubs will start to grow also.”
“I am proud of the effort put forward by the county employees, the DEC, our trails coordinator and the Parishville ATV club. We have been working on this project for quite some time and the pieces are now starting to fall into place,” said Legislator Tony Arquiett, D-Helena, and co-chair of the St. Lawrence County Trails Committee.
The opening of the trail will be celebrated Aug. 3 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and free barbeque.
Festivities begin at 9 a.m. at the Racquette Valley Fish and Game 233 Cold Brook Dr.
An organized ride will be led by the Parishville ATV Club and Sunday Rock ATV Club (Colton). The ride begins at the Racquette Valley Fish and Game Club and traverses private land before entering DEC’s Grass River Conservation Easement. The ride will cross the northern section of the CE via the Featherbed haul road and onto DEC’s Long Pond CE and the Little John haul road to the Gills Garden Kiosk.
There will be a break and discussion at the kiosk before the ride returns via the same route to Racquette Valley Fish and Game for a luncheon and presentation at 1 p.m. after the ride. Everyone is welcome to come and take part in this fun fill event.
Source: North Country This Week, Matt Lindsey