We are thrilled to announce that BETA has been awarded $25,000 from the North Elba LEAF Program to support two separate community-based trail projects in the Town of North Elba. These trails will further improve the recreation opportunities in the vicinity of the villages of Lake Placid and Saranac Lake, and are part of a region-wide BETA effort to plan, build and promote new community-based trails that are more accessible and more inclusive of younger riders and people who are new to mountain biking.
The North Elba LEAF program provides funds for programs, activities, and facilities that will have direct benefits to our communities and improve the quality of place for both residents and visitors. This is the third grant awarded to BETA through the program since 2020. BETA will be seeking grassroots donations to help match the LEAF grant, stay tuned for more updates and the opportunity to contribute to these exciting projects.
Here's a quick summary of the projects to get you pumped as we head into the 2023 trail building season!
CRAIG WOOD: JUMPS, BERMS & ROLLERS
This project includes the construction of two new mountain bike trails on North Elba Parks District lands at Craig Wood with skills features and jumps for mountain bikers. The goal is to create approximately 1 mile of new downhill-oriented trails that provide youth and adult riders with challenging features that sharpen skills, inspire confidence, and spark JOY. Trails with safe, well-designed jumps and other skill building features are in demand and BETA recognizes the need to better accommodate this type of riding into the existing trail systems. This is especially important as more and more local families embrace mountain biking, as evidenced by the immense popularity of the pump tracks and bike skills parks in Wilmington and Saranac Lake and the work to establish similar facilities in other towns.
Our partner in this project is Backslope Trail Building, a professional trail building company based in Vermont and the Adirondacks with experience in dirt all along the East coast. Grant funds will support 4-6 weeks of work by Backslope and BETA's seasonal trail staff. If you've visited the new Harrietstown Bike Park dreamt up by SLICK - Saranac Lake Innovative Cycling Kids - you've already enjoyed the high quality product created by Max Van Wie, owner/operator of Backslope Trail Building.
The main trail will be approximately 1/2 to 3/4 mile long and designed to be inclusive of beginner and intermediate riders - but loads of fun for everyone - with numerous individual features like jumps, berms and rollers for riders to practice on. A secondary trail will provide more challenging options for advanced riders and will be constructed adjacent to the main trail. The two trails will merge at a safe and appropriate location. Both trails will be located inside the "loop" formed by the popular Back Nine and 19th Hole trails. This will be a great companion to the Craig Wood trail system.
FOWLER'S CROSSING: MELLOW CRUISING FOR ALL
This project includes the construction of a new singletrack trail on state Forest Preserve lands at Fowler’s Crossing in Saranac Lake. The goal is to further develop the existing multi-use trail system adjacent to the Adirondack Rail Trail in the hamlet area of Saranac Lake by constructing a new 1.25 mile singletrack trail loop designed for mountain bike and foot travel. The Fowler’s Crossing trail system is already popular with local residents and visitors of all ages for non-motorized activities and will be a key destination along the Rail Trail once completed.
BETA has been planning new trails in the Fowler's Crossing network for a number of years. We began advocating for new trails in this zone in 2010, back when BETA was just getting started as a grassroots effort. Finally in 2018 the unit management plan for the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest - which included an expansion of trail mileage at Fowler's - was adopted by the NYSDEC. In 2019 we constructed about 1 mile of new trail on the north side of the Fowler's network, but work has been stalled since then due to multiple court decisions relating to snowmobile trail construction in the Forest Preserve. This project is still pending work plan approval by NYSDEC, but we are hopeful that we can proceed with the project by the summer. Grant funds will directly support 6-8 weeks of paid work by BETA's seasonal trail staff and volunteers.
The project will help expand and improve access to the Fowler’s Crossing trail network, which provides an accessible and user-friendly mountain biking opportunity for adult and youth mountain bikers who are new to the sport and developing their skills, or who are simply seeking a more mellow riding experience as compared to some of the more technical trails in the area. This small but growing trail system is directly accessible from multiple points in the hamlet area of Saranac Lake (on the North Elba side of the village), via the Adirondack Rail Trail (which will be paved in this area) and multiple “neighborhood” trails.