SARANAC LAKE - Village and town officials are reviving an old plan to create a recreational trail that links Dewey Mountain Recreation Center to Mount Pisgah Ski Center.
Village Recreation Director Charlie Martin asked the Harrietstown town board Thursday to help in the planning process for the trail, which is included in the recently released draft of the Saranac Lake Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Master Plan. It would connect Dewey Mountain, which is owned by the town and is located just outside the southwest corner of the village, to the village-run Mount Pisgah on the north side of the community.
It would follow roughly the same route of a recreational trail that was proposed almost four decades ago, according to town Code Enforcement Officer Ed Randig.
"It was part of a whole cross-country ski network that was planned back in the '70s," Randig said. "They didn't put it together. I think it was a funding thing. But what they're planning now is basically the same as what they were thinking about doing back then."
Martin told the town board that the village has secured easements for what could be the first part of the Pisgah-Dewey connector trail, a section that would run roughly seven-tenths of a mile from Mount Pisgah, across properties owned by James Hoyt and village Mayor Clyde Rabideau, to Old Lake Colby Road. The trail will be marked within the next two weeks and cut sometime in the spring, Martin said.
From Old Lake Colby Road, Martin said the trail would traverse another privately owned property and cross state Route 86 to the village beach at Lake Colby, located off of Moir Road. Getting from there to Dewey is where the town's help is needed, Martin said.
"That's going to take us into realms that I believe you folks own part of, which may take us behind the Elks field and maybe towards the railroad tracks (near the town garage)," Martin said. "I'm not exactly sure how the route would go. I'm told there were old trails there that were developed but have since gone by the wayside."
As the planning process moves forward, Martin said town representatives will be need to be on board if the trail is to cross town land.
"Once we get to the beach, we're going to have to start talking with you folks, and what I'd like is if there's someone designated from your side that I could work with," Martin told the board. "That would be the easiest way to go about it."
Martin suggested a meeting in village Manager John Sweeney's office, as Sweeney has a large map that could be used to sketch out the trail, the layout of which he said is still up in the air.
As it's proposed in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Master Plan, the trail would run from the beach up Broadway to the railroad tracks, then down the railroad corridor to town property along the shore of Little Colby Pond. It also shows the trail running through St. Bernard's Cemetery property to Ampersand Avenue, down Edgewood Road to state Route 3, and from there along the road down to the Dewey Mountain parking lot, where a crosswalk would be built. A sidewalk or shared use path would be installed along the sections of the trail that run along Route 3 and Edgewood Road.
The plan lists the trail as 2.9 miles in length. It says it would be used for hiking and mountain biking and would cost $800,000 to build.
Martin told the town board he's hopeful much of the trail building could be done by volunteers, as has been the case with the new mountain biking trails at Mount Pisgah and Dewey, some of which have been developed by the Barkeater Trails Alliance, a pro-mountain biking group. Students and teachers from the local BOCES program have also helped with trail building at Pisgah, Martin said.
Councilman Ron Keough asked if the state's management plan for the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest has to be finished before the trail could be developed. Martin said he didn't know; however, the UMP only applies to state Forest Preserve land. The Pisgah-Dewey trail, as it's proposed in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Trail Master Plan, would cross either private lands or property owned by the town, village and state Department of Transportation.
Keough and Councilwoman Nichole Meyette said they'd be the ones to meet with the village to discuss the proposed trail, and Meyette said she'd be "more than happy" to do so.
Keough said he recalled when a similar trail was planned back in the '70s, before the Saranac Lake Civic Center was built, and that it also involved using the town's land near the railroad tracks.
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.