SARANAC LAKE - The village of Saranac Lake will hold a public planning session Thursday to seek input on the development of multi-use trails at Mount Pisgah Ski Center.
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Mount Pisgah Lodge. The village's consultants on the project, North Woods Engineering and Demong Designs, will facilitate.
Village Community Development Director Jeremy Evans said the funding for multi-use trail development at Mount Pisgah comes from the $600,000 grant the village received last year from the state Department of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. While the bulk of the funds are being used to purchase and install a new T-bar lift, about $150,000 is set aside for multi-use and accessible trail development.
Evans credited former Pisgah manager Matt Cook with kick-starting the effort to develop multi-use trails at Mount Pisgah.
"Matt knew the mountain had the potential to be much more than a downhill ski center," Evans said in a news release. "He brought in individuals and organizations with expertise in trail building to look at the mountain, and they all agreed that it was feasible and that there was a lot of demand for more trails in the area."
Current Mount Pisgah Manager Charlie Martin said there's a lot of potential for multi-use trails on the property.
"We face some challenges, such as really aggressive terrain on the eastern face and the impact of the new water tank, but we can work around those challenges," Martin said.
Now that the funding is in place, village officials want the public to weigh in with their ideas about the trail system.
Olympic gold- and silver-medal-winning nordic combined skier Bill Demong, a Vermontville native who started Demong Designs last year, said he is thrilled to work on the project.
"I'm looking forward to hearing what ideas and desires our local groups bring to the table and integrating these into a plan which creates a network of trails that can be enjoyed and utilized by all," Demong said.
In the coming weeks, village officials said Demong Designs and North Woods Engineering will use comments and ideas from stakeholders and the public to develop a master plan for Pisgah that the village will use to coordinate construction of trails. The village hopes to begin construction this summer.
Residents who have comments or ideas but who are unable to attend Thursday's meeting may email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.