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St. Lawrence County Mountain Bike Club plans trail cleanup work

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POTSDAM — The St. Lawrence County Mountain Bike Club is gearing up for its 2014 season.

The club, which has been around for about five years, has 20 members from all over the county who ride and maintain 50 miles of multi-use trails through the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Adopt-A-Natural-Resource Stewardship Program.

The trails include miles in Downerville State Forest in Russell, High Flats State Forest and a section of the Stone Valley Cooperative Recreation Area between Colton and Brown’s Bridge.

“The mountain bike movement is growing across the country, and our group has that same interest,” said James L. Akins, president of the club. “Every spring we go out on the trails to clear the brush to make them ride and hike worthy.”

This spring, however, the club may get a later start on the cleanup process.

“Because of the winter we’ve had, it will probably be at least another two weeks before we can start cleaning up because there’s still a good amount of snow in the woods,” Mr. Akins said. “It’s going to take a week’s worth of work.”

Mr. Akins, Canton, said that within the last year the club has become a nonprofit organization, elected officials and established bylaws, including its mission to “create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers in St. Lawrence County.”

The group met Tuesday night to discuss goals for riding and improving trails.

“We welcome new members,” Mr. Akins said.

The club’s main long-term goal is to make St. Lawrence County a mountain bike destination, he said.

Short-term, he said the club would like to hold off building new trails and focus on improving the quality of existing trails by removing rough sections and bringing them to a beginner-intermediate level of terrain.

Mr. Akins said the club won’t have organize cleanup days but will schedule work days toward the end of May to work on projects members started last year, including bridge construction, putting up trail markers and signs and trail construction.

“If it stays warm, I would say most of our trails will be ready to go by May 1,” he said.

Mr. Akins said people who want to join can email him at akinsacres@gmail.com or fill out a membership application which will be available on the website SLMBA.org within the next few days. An adult membership costs $30 and a family membership for two or more people costs $50.

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