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Trails, hotels readying for opening of snowmobile trails

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LOWVILLE — The latest snowfall on Tug Hill arrived just in time for the opening of snowmobile trails.

“All seasonal roads are open. On Monday the 16th, the trails on private land will be open,” said Gary R. Stinson, president of the Barnes Corners Sno-Pals snowmobile club.

He plans to groom the trails at dark tonight.

“We’ll be out full bore,” he said.

Well over 3 feet of snow has fallen in some places on Tug Hill, which Richard C. Lucas, owner of Montague Inn, said he hadn’t seen this early in the season in quite some time.

“Years ago, we’d see snow from Halloween until spring,” he said. “Maybe this could be the return back to the old days.”

He’s seen a steady flow of sledders since the snow began.

“We’re not even at the weekend yet,” he said. He expects business to be booming over the weekend.

Two new groomers also will be on the trails soon, thanks to the receipt of two state grants.

Turin Ridge Riders Inc., and Valley Snow Travelers of Lewis County Inc. will receive $159,840 and $151,600, respectively, for the purchase of new groomers.

Trails leading to the Edge Hotel, Lyons Falls, are on private land not opened until Monday as late muzzle-loading season for big game is still open. Rooms, however, still were being booked for the weekend.

“We’re not sold out quite yet,” said Lisa D. Sexton, employee at the Edge.

It is common for those staying at the Edge to trailer their snowmobiles to the open trails on Tug Hill, she said.

Tracey J. Miller, owner of Ridge View Lodge in Lowville, said it was receiving several calls with questions about the snowfall, “but we won’t be sold out until after Christmas,” she said. “We’ll get a few that come in to ride from Central New York, but we start selling out Dec. 26.”

Mrs. Miller was unaware Valley Snow Travelers, which grooms the trails near her motel, had been awarded the grant for the new groomer.

“That’s the best news I’ve heard in years,” she said.

Until now, the club has used a leased groomer and three outdated drags to maintain trails.

Other good news for sledders is a new gas filling station, expected to be opened at Ridge View by Christmas.

The county’s recreational trail coordinator, Jacqueline L. Mahoney, said there have been some changes to the trail system since last season.

Those changes can be seen on the trail maps, available at the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce, 7576 S. State St.

She also cautioned riders to be aware some town roads still are being used for logging.

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