August is going out with a bang! With the Wilmington MTB Festival right around the corner, BETA staff, volunteers and partners are burning the candle at both ends to finish new trail projects before the fall riding season. Here’s a quick update on our progress:
Thanks to a very generous donation from Tahawus Trails and our long-standing partnership with the Adirondack Land Trust, BETA was able to break ground on the first new trail in Wilmington since 2019. At the Three Sisters Preserve - now owned by ALT after its merger with the Lake Placid Land Conservancy - work is underway on a new downhill-oriented, machine-built trail featuring super fun (but friendly!) jump features that utilize the natural terrain and high-quality soils found in the Beaver Brook Valley. The new trail can be seen on TrailForks. We anticipate that construction will continue for another two weeks and the new trail remains closed during this time for the safety of trail builders and riders.
The existing “Three Sisters” trail was rerouted in one location to accommodate the new trail. The reroute was completed during a well-attended volunteer trail day (see photos below!) on August 19 and is now open to the public. The Three Sisters and Noreen’s trails are also getting a complete tune-up to correct some maintenance issues that have arisen thanks to the record-setting rainfall we’ve seen this summer. During your next visit to the network, please take notice of the beautiful new kiosk at the Hardy Road entrance added by The Adirondack Land Trust.
After a 4-year delay, BETA is back to work at the Fowler’s Crossing trail network in the Saranac Lake Wild Forest (state Forest Preserve land). A new 1-mile loop of singletrack is under construction and we anticipate work will be complete by early September. The new trail can be seen on TrailForks, and will form a “loop within a loop” on the western side of the network and utilizes the existing “Oseetah View Loop,” a portion of which will be rerouted to achieve consistency with the state’s mountain bike trail design guidelines. This project is funded in part by the North Elba LEAF program. Work began in early August, and we were grateful to have the opportunity to work with the Adirondack Mountain Club trail crew for a full week, as well as the half-dozen local volunteers who came out to help on August 20.
For those that don’t know, Fowler’s is adjacent to the Adirondack Rail Trail on the eastern edge of Saranac Lake and home to a beautiful section of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail and a number of other informal trails that have been around for decades. Fowler’s is one of the only tracts of state land directly accessible from the hamlet of Saranac Lake, and is dominated by plantation pine forests and the kind of well-drained, sandy soils that trail builders like us love. The friendly, smooth trails (virtually no rocks) and minimal climbing make this network a perfect destination for novice riders, families with small kids, or anyone looking for a soulful pedal or walk in the woods.
BETA first advocated for additional singletrack to be built in this network, long enjoyed by local mountain bikers, following our founding in 2009. We constructed two new trails in 2019 following the adoption of the unit management plan by NYSDEC, but work was soon put on hold following a series of court decisions related to trail construction and tree cutting on state lands. It seems the logjam of bureaucracy has started to give way, and we’re excited to resume work on this amazing trail network.
With your help, we have successfully met our 2023 fundraising goal of $30,000! In continued partnership with Peduzzi Trail Contracting, Phase 2 of trail construction on the property is in progress and anticipated to be completed soon. Phase 2 will expand on the success of the multi-use trails, and will feature a new 3/4 mile, machine-built, mountain bike specific trail. The new trail will be fun for beginners and rippers alike and will bring riders back to the Leepoff Loop without riding down the climbing trail.
Upon completion of the new trail, the lower half of the climbing trail will be designated for uphill bike traffic only (foot traffic will remain two directional). Once additional downhill-oriented bike trails are constructed higher on the mountain (2024 and beyond), the entire climbing trail will be one-way for bikes. This is the preferred design for an enduro-style mountain bike network and allows for some trails to be enjoyed by walkers and trail runners without concern for potential conflicts with downhill riders.
Backslope Trail Building has crafted an insanely fun new jump trail at Craig Wood in Lake Placid that is now open. "Green Jacket" is stacked with jump features of all shapes and sizes and perfect berms that will allow riders to progress their riding skills and confidence, although riders may experience facial soreness from grinning so hard. The new trail is located inside the loop formed by the 19th Hole and Back Nine trails and merges into the popular 19th Hole downhill run (see map on TrailForks). A new climbing trail is in the works to allow riders to short lap Green Jacket (please don't hike up the jump line). Work continues on an adjacent pro line for advanced riders that we're calling "Gold Jacket". This work is supported by a grant from the North Elba LEAF program, as well as a handful of major donations and investments from BETA's Sterling Watchorn Trail Fund.
FRESH TRACKS AT CRAIG WOOD
Despite uncooperative weather during the last month of construction, the new jump trail at Craig Wood is NEARLY there. Backslope Trail Builders and BETA staff and volunteers have been digging, building and perfecting a buttery smooth, big-bermed addition to the Lake Placid trail system. We're anticipating a mid-August opening to the public and we invite you to check it out with us on Saturday, August 12th when BETA will offer a schedule of group rides on the new trail throughout the day. Details to come.
Please remember that the trail remains closed while construction is in progress.
Thank you to all of the volunteers who've had a hand in helping with what is sure to be a new favorite for many, and thank you Backslope Trail Builders for your vision, expertise and commitment to building a trail that inspires even a self-proclaimed climb-hater to pedal up for just one more lap.
Following a nearly 4 year delay in trail development at the Fowler's Crossing system in Saranac Lake, we are finally back on track to add new singletrack to the network. With persistent planning and advocacy efforts by BETA, NYSDEC has approved our work planfor building approximately 1.25 miles of new mountain bike and foot trail on a parcel of Forest Preserve directly adjacent to the new Adirondack Rail Trail and Route 86 on the edge of the village. The new trail will be consistent with others at Fowler's - friendly for novice riders but fun for anyone on foot or bike.
BETA will begin work on the trail in early August and we anticipate the project to be completed by early September. We're excited to partner with the Adirondack Mountain Club trail crew who will assist with trail construction, along with BETA volunteers (join our trail day on August 20!) This project is made possible by a grant from the North Elba LEAF programand grassroots donations.