In 2009, towns on Lake George were awarded a $69,000 grant from the state’s Adirondack Park Community Smart Growth Grant Program to create a “Trails Master Plan” for the west shore.
“Creating the plan was a great opportunity to pull together all the information we have about hiking and mountain biking trails as well as bicycle routes,” said Tracey Clothier of the LA Group, who crafted the plan.
On behalf of the Lake George Land Conservancy, Clothier has now submitted an application to the same state program which, if approved, would add east side trails to the master plan.
“Our goal is to inventory all the public hiking, biking, and snowmobile trails on the east side and identify the connections and main gaps between the trail systems, including those between the west and east shores,” said Clothier.
The comprehensive, basin-wide trails plan would chart a 100-mile loop around the lake, said Clothier.
Funding is also being sought to implement recommendations of the original Trails Master Plan, including the development of trails in Bolton Landing to the Pinnacle.
While the 2009 plan recommended preserving the Pinnacle, which overlooks the hamlet of Bolton Landing, in part because it could provide hikers with a link from Main Street to the Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve, efforts to acquire it had been unsuccessful.
Earlier this year, however, Jamie Brown, the Lake George Land Conservancy’s executive director announced that the organization had signed an option to purchase the 75-acre parcel.
Once the option is exercised, said Brown, the Conservancy will place the land under an easement that will permanently protect it from development. The organization will then sell the Pinnacle to the Town of Bolton at a reduce price, making it available to the public.
Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover has confirmed that the Town will sign a contract to purchase the Pinnacle from the Lake George Land Conservancy for approximately $150,000 once a conservation easement is in place.
Developing Bolton Landing as a destination for bikers and hikers is the perfect example of the kind of economic initiative the Adirondack Smart Growth grant program seeks to encourage, said Conover.
The Pinnacle Trail will ultimately have several trailheads in the hamlet of Bolton Landing and connect the Bolton Community Center, Cat-Thomas Mountain Trail and the Pinnacle peak, said Clothier.
“One of the main goals of the project is to create linkages to the hamlets and villages,” said Clothier. “Improving connections between the waterfront and downtowns to an interconnected network of trails and paths will provide visitors with new, diverse hiking options.”
Funds from the grant will be used to identify any easements across private properties which may be necessary to link the trail system to the hamlet. The grant would also be used to map trail routes and to design and construct trails, said Clothier.
Other funds will cover the costs of hiring a trail coordinator for one year. The coordinator, who would work with the Lake George Land Conservancy, will be responsible for developing trail systems and links across the lake’s west shore, said Tracey Clothier.
I like trails. There are different sorts of trails, and experienced hikers and cyclists know how to use them. But most people are unfamiliar with formal planning documents and can easily get lost in them. Here are my tips: Read them from back-to-front, since the substance of the plan is found in the back, in the Action Plan section. Look for tangible, on-the-ground actions – those requiring a shovel, not a conference room. Signage plans are technically tangible, but I’d skip over them, too.
When you get to the executive summary, stop. No hard information there, just flowery language.
The plan in question for Bolton is quite sparse when examined this way. When the planning was first announced, the promise was a link between Bolton and Lake George. That would be great! But how would it be possible given the terrain, private property and the “road by use”, can’t-be-widened status of 9N? Well, there’s a sentence or two way in the back of the plan that gently confirms that indeed, it isn’t. The trail around the lake has been quietly substituted as the signature feature. While impressive on a fancy map displayed in a conference room, it’s actually an awkward mixture of roads and ridge trails, appealing to neither hikers nor cyclists.
What we need are outdoor conference rooms.
Is there a need for additional trails? Was a demand study done? Just wondering as tax dollars are being spent and there will be ongoing trail maintenance costs.