The season may be off to a bit of a slow start, but that doesn’t stop the excited anticipation of snowmobile enthusiasts here along the Adirondack Coast. Conditions are improving as I write - with a good 3 inches of fresh powder last night. If you are one of these enthusiasts that like to venture onto some remote Adirondack trails, then more often than not you can thank a local snowmobile club for that opportunity. It is the effort and hard work of local clubs that makes these adventures possible. Through planning, landowner negotiation, a NYS approval process, and hours of hands-on work clearing, maintaining and grooming, these clubs provide an Adirondack winter wonderland trail riding experience for all of us to enjoy.
Adirondack Trail Riders
The Adirondack Trail Riders, based in Ticonderoga, is a club whose members are working hard for everyone’s enjoyment. I recently connected with Walt Worth and his wife Mary Beth to get some insight on some Ticonderoga area trails and activity. Walt is Vice-President of this snowmobile club and a very busy guy. Finding a time to connect was no easy task. Aside from the VP responsibilities with the ATR, Walt also holds a seat on the Crown Point Town Council, and both he and his wife are multiple business owners. They own and operate the Crab Shack restaurant and Maple Ridge Park Campground in Ticonderoga’s neighboring town, Crown Point. Mary Beth also operates the Champlain Realty Group. On the day I was lucky enough to catch up with them, Walt had just returned from installing a gate on a farmer’s field; the site of a new snowmobile trail connection. Mary Beth had returned from showing a local piece of property. Both were energized having spent the afternoon in the crisp Adirondack fresh air.
Walt explained that a great many new trail connections have opened in the recent past. The club has been diligent in working one-on-one with the property owners, respecting their wishes for trail location, building gates in fence lines, and monitoring conditions to ensure no damage will be done. This works if all members, and fellow riders, stick to the groomed trails, abide by the signs, and understand that making use of the private property is a privilege that could easily disappear if abused. Everyone has been anxious for this season to get rolling, but risking damage to property or equipment by getting out there before conditions are right can ruin the riding experience for everyone. “Patience is a Virtue” their Facebook site posts. Recent colder temperatures have frozen the ground providing a solid base for snow accumulation and some great riding. While in the “patient” mode, the Adirondack Trail Riders have been planning, working with neighboring clubs and negotiating for more snowmobile connections and opportunities. Current connections take you north into the Town of Moriah and west to connect with the myriad of trails in the Schroon Lake Region. Plans are in the works for southern connections into the Towns of Hague and Putnam. “Right now Ticonderoga is a great home base for snowmobilers,” Walt informed me, “but it will be getting even better.”
The Grooming Machine
The Adirondack Trail Riders make us of some pretty awesome-looking trail grooming equipment, a Chevy Blazer on tracks, to ensure a good base for your riding experience. Many hours are spent in this machine prepping trails for everyone’s enjoyment.
News from Ticonderoga
Just last week the Town of Ticonderoga granted permission for snowmobiles to connect through Bicentennial Park near the eastern end of Montcalm Street. The trail will be marked every 25 feet and is to be used only when conditions are adequate, a minimum of a 4” base, but this access will open up even more Ticonderoga amenities and services to snowmobilers. The trail through the park will begin of NYS Route 22, near the Shore Airport Road, pass by the Little League field, to the covered, Kissing Bridge in the park, to cross and connect with the LaChute River Trail; a scenic route past Bicentennial Falls and along the LaChute River. This map may not appear on the New York State snowmobile site until the next update, but a copy is provided here. Ticonderoga offers a multitude of lodging, dining and shopping options within its downtown area. Of particular interest to snowmobilers would be Tony’s Ticonderoga Sports, near the juncture of Rtes 9N & 22 and 74, offering snowmobile sales, parts and accessories. This is also near a good access point for one of the ATR trails that would connect you to a 35-mile loop up Chilson Hill and into Crown Point.
“Snowmobilers can refer to the NYS Snowmobile website’s trail map, but the best course of action is to follow the signs and stay on the groomed trails,” Walt told me. “Sometimes the updates on the state site have yet to appear, or there are minor diversions due to conditions.” For the most updated information contact the club, or tune into their Facebook page for recent posts. They always welcome new members and would love to see you at their annual fundraising clambake held at the Ticonderoga Fish and Game Club every May.
Enthusiasts will want to watch the events calendar for the North Country SPCA’s snowmobile rally next winter. This year, on January 16, the association held their 2nd Annual Snowmobile Rally at the Essex County Fairgrounds in Westport.
There I found machines from the earliest, to the latest models, parts, equipment and numerous enthusiasts sharing stories and information. The prize for this year’s fundraising raffle was a 1971 Moto Ski Cadet.
The food, fun, and children’s activities were very engaging. NCSPCA was there with adorable pets for adoption and even the clown, Merriloons, had to take a test drive.
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