The northeastern portion of a multiuse trail through St. Lawrence County that has been in the works for years could open within weeks.
We are making signs to finish the road portion, county Highway Superintendent Toby W. Bogart said. It wont take us long to put them up. Were still hoping for this by the end of the month.
The trail, meant for many uses such as snowmobiling, hiking, dog sledding, biking and riding all-terrain vehicles eventually will provide a corridor from Lewis County through St. Lawrence County to Franklin County. The North Country Regional Economic Development Council awarded the county $500,000 toward the trail system, which organizers hope will be a draw for tourism and recreation.
The northeast section from the Franklin County border at Lake Ozonia toward Parishville and Colton is opening first because it has the fewest problems. A section on county forestland that will provide offshoots off the main trail will open later, after it has been charted.
The center portion of the trail within the Adirondack Park could open next year after the state Department of Environmental Conservation finalizes its unit management plans for the area. The county is working with DEC and some large timber owners along the southern section of the trail to solve easement issues.
To get the southeast portion opened, its possible that will happen later this year as well, Mr. Bogart said.
The southern portion of the trail may include an alternative path when active logging or hunting is going on, he said.
Approval for a crossing below Rainbow Falls Dam in Parishville is proceeding smoothly with the support of dam owner Brookfield Renewable Energy Group, but a number of agreements still are needed, Mr. Bogart said.
On March 4, Robert G. Campbell, 78, Norwood, and Robert P. Whalen, 87, Canton, crashed through ice and drowned while trying to cross the reservoir, making safe passage a priority.
Brookfield really wants to see the bridge go across. So does the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Mr. Bogart said.
Overall, the trail will make use of existing roadways, such as logging trails that are wide and graveled, but generally avoid paved roads, he said.