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Foster-Blake Woods Preserve to open in June in Clayton

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CLAYTON — A new year-round Thousand Islands Land Trust recreational trail and land preserve with river access will open in Clayton thanks to a donation made in memory of two advocates of TILT.

TILT Executive Director Jake R. Tibbles said the park will be called the Foster-Blake Woods Preserve. The land and money to construct the more than 1-mile hiking path was donated in the name of Everett G. “Rett” Foster and Joseph Blake. Mr. Tibbles said they were dedicated supporters of TILT who both died in recent years.

The land was donated in Mr. Foster’s name by his widow, Judith J. Foster-Glick, in April 2013. The donation adds to the more than 8,200 acres of land dedicated to TILT.

“Our goal with all of our properties is to have the least amount of impact on the environment,” Mr. Tibbles said. “Some people find relaxation at a (coffee shop); for others, nature is where they find their relaxation.”

A parking lot marks the trail head on Route 12E. The parcel is both “land and forest,” with mature hard maple trees and eastern hemlock that will line the path. There also is access to the river where the public will be able to launch or enter the preserve by canoe or kayak. Mr. Tibbles said there are no plans for dock spaces or developed concrete paths. The trail will be a loop and have a connected path to the St. Lawrence River. The property will serve as a place for visitors to immerse in the natural beauty of the landscape by hiking or cross-country skiing in the winter. He said the trail will be “rugged-natural.”

“We’ll remove any brush and stumps and tripping hazards from the path and we might put in some rock steps,” Mr. Tibbles said. Other than the trails, he said, the land should remain untouched and require little maintenance.

He said it will be a light to moderate hike.

The development of the TILT path and trailhead began in early spring and is expected to be complete by the end of June. The project is expected to cost $20,000; funding has been donated to TILT.

“We’ve moved forward with development of the trails,” Mr. Tibbles said. So far a driveway has been installed to lead to the parking lot and trailhead off Route 12E.

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