SARANAC LAKE - Volunteers helped Dewey Mountain Recreation Center begin to install new signs and introduce a new trail map Sunday.
The signage and map are designed to improve flow and clarity on Dewey's 13 kilometers of cross-country ski trails. The multi-season recreation facility, owned by the town of Harrietstown, also features 10 kilometers of snowshoe, mountain bike and walking trails.
The new signs were paid for by a grant from the North Country Healthy Heart Network's Creating Healthy Places program, funded by the state Department of Health. One of the program's goals is to increase opportunities for North Country residents to be physically active. The signs are designed to make trails more welcoming by clarifying directions and level of difficulty. The goal is to make it easier for newcomers to mountain sports as well as visitors to the area to navigate trails safely and to encourage repeat visits.
From left, honorees Mary Jean Burke, Jack Burke, Helen Demong and Natalie Leduc listen as Jamie Konkoski and Margot Gold of North Country Healthy Heart Network prepare to cut the ribbon on new cross-country-ski trail signs at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in Saranac Lake Sunday.
(Photo — Jason Smith)
The signs were designed by Demong Designs, a trail design company co-owned by Bill Demong and Kris Cheney-Seymour, two former Vermontville residents who know Dewey well from youth racing and coaching. Both now live in Utah.
The North Country Healthy Heart Network and Demong Designs were recognized Sunday as the engines behind the project. Margot Gold and Jamie Konkoski of North Country Healthy Heart Network cut the ribbon with help from several guests of honor.
Trail names honor people who have been important to the region's winter sports heritage:
The trail "Timinator" honors Tim Burke, a two-time Olympian in biathlon, originally from Paul Smiths. His parents Jack and Mary Jean Burke were present Sunday to help inaugurate the new trail names.
The trail "Iron Bill" honors Demong, a four-time Olympian in Nordic combined who won gold and silver medals at the 2010 games. Bill's mother Helen Demong represented the Demong family Sunday, helping cut the ribbon.
The trail "Natski" honors Natalie Leduc, ski historian and a former women's state champion in slalom, downhill and combined, as well as a cross-country ski racer. Leduc is a tireless supporter of winter sports in all forms. She helped cut the ribbon Sunday.
The trail "Wolff" pays tribute to the Wolff family's dedication to promoting winter sports in the region, especially Phil and Elsie Wolff. Phil Wolff, who passed away last year at age 95, was chief of staff of the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Organizing Committee and founder of the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum. Phil and Elsie's grandson Stephen represented the family Sunday.
The trail "Margie" honors Margaret Wilson Lamy, a linchpin of two winter-sports-loving families, the Lamys and Wilsons, who competed at the world level in skating, bobsledding and cross-country skiing. Marge has also chronicled local winter sports history for several publications.
The trail "Thanks, Coach" honors the many dedicated people who have taught children how to ski at Dewey, both at the high school and Youth Ski League level. Their leadership has inspired two model programs and a lifelong love of skiing in thousands of kids.
Finally, "Peanuts" honors the people who have run Dewey. Day and night, they do the hard work of clearing and grooming trails and keeping the lights on and the kids warm-for peanuts. Jason Smith and Steve Doxzon, of Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters, were recognized what they've accomplished in their seven years as the town's winter operations contractor.
Following the ribbon cutting, a dozen volunteers helped move signs onto the trails. The volunteers were thanked for their role in keeping Dewey's programs and facilities vital.