In its 21-year history, Saranac’s Hill and Hollow Music has brought over 200 professional chamber music ensembles to the Adirondacks. Their community outreach has included presentations in schools, churches, senior residences and community centers. I am always so grateful for such organizations that float into our communities with seemingly little effort and bring international musicians to our door.
It may be raining now, but it looks like we may be getting winter back on track this weekend with some colder temperatures and new snow. Some of my favorite trails have lost their base layer and the paths are better suited to crampons than skis. Despite the dreary sounding conditions there is still plenty to do to get outside and enjoy the Adirondack winter wonderland.
For the second year The New Land Trust in Saranac has teamed up with Dion snowshoes to host the annual Cock-A-Doodle Shoe on January 18 at 10 am. This year race organizers added a 5K to the existing 10K snowshoe race format. According to Race Organizer Jeremy Drowne the event is on. Drowne feels that this warm front will soften the base and the new snow will add a nice layer for the upcoming race. » Continue Reading.
In the tiny town of Saranac, sometimes referred to as Saranac Hollow, stands a monument to the town’s Civil War veterans. What makes it unique is that, during the war, the townspeople sent over three and a half times its draft quota to the Union Army. With a population of 3,600 people, 416 veterans are honored on the monument.
Walking around an Adirondack cemetery may seem like something straight out of horror films or reserved for a spooky Halloween night, but standing tall in Independence Cemetery is a war memorial that far exceeds any school lessons covering the United States Civil War.
According to the Town of Saranac’s historian Jan Couture it is the only Civil War memorial in Clinton County and the first war memorial of any kind in the county. To first look at it, it seems quite simple but the power is in reading the dedications and recognizing names we assume to be related to these brave lost soldiers. » Continue Reading.
In its 20-year history, Saranac’s Hill and Hollow Music has brought over 100 professional chamber music ensembles to the Adirondacks. Their community outreach has included over 1,250 presentations in schools, churches, senior residences and community centers. For founders Angela Brown and Kellum Smith the vision has grown to include a year-round Rural Retreat Program for professional musicians and the Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble (NAVE).
NAVE debuted in December 2011 and currently Conductor Drew Benware continues to work with Hill and Hollow to fill a distinct niche with this a cappella choir. According to Brown, by keeping this vocal ensemble small, NAVE is able to focus on a musical repertoire that enhances the goals of Hill and Hollow. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is preparing to restart a management plan for nearly 60,000 acres of Forest Preserve and other state-managed lands in the Chazy Highlands Complex. The lands spread across 493 square miles in 34 separate parcels in the northeastern Adirondack Park and are located in the towns of Bellmont, Duane, and Franklin in Franklin County and the towns of Altona, Black Brook, Dannemora, Ellenburg, and Saranac in Clinton County.
Natural features in the Complex include Lyon Mountain, Haystack Knob, Norton Peak, and Ellenburg Mountain; Upper Chateaugay Lake and Chazy Lake; and Saranac River and Great Chazy River. The primary recreational uses are fishing and hunting; however the public also participates in hiking, camping, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and bird/wildlife watching on these lands. Both the trail to the Fire Tower on the Lyon Mountain and the Lewis Preserve Wildlife Management Area are frequented often by the public. » Continue Reading.
The recent warm front didn’t do the snowshoe/cross-country ski trails any favors, but it also didn’t completely wipe out the snow. Though some area ski centers around the Adirondack Park have taken a significant hit, most are grooming their trails for business. It has been tricky to find the places that are shielded enough to maintain a significant base for those of us looking to snowshoe or cross-country ski.
New Land Trust in Saranac, along with Dion Snowshoes, is hosting Cock-A-Doodle-Shoe as a Northeast regional qualifier for the 2013 USSSA National Snowshoe Championships on January 20. The 10K snowshoe race with cover a varied terrain from flat ground to rolling hills among the New Land Trust’s 287-acres. The competition is open to all levels and participants will compete for a $150 cash prize » Continue Reading.
With all 28 trails open on its 287 acres, the New Land Trust (NLT) in Saranac is ready for their 2nd annual Chili Fest and Pot Luck on Saturday, February 18th.
“Trail conditions are hard-packed and icy in spots,” says NLT Board Member Douglas Yu. “We do have a solid-base. Snowshoes would be perfect, especially if venturing off-trail. We consistently have plentiful snow. Our unique location at the foot of Lyon Mt makes this possible. Even we have been impacted by the general lack of snow this year.” The Chili Fest and Potluck is termed as “super casual” where visitors come and share a noon meal and utilize the free trail system. There is an opportunity to compete in a chili cook-off and enjoy a bonfire that evening. Two dual-use trails, two information kiosks, a snowshoe-only trail, and a bridge on Nightrider are just some of the new improvements to enjoy. Yu encourages newcomers to use the upcoming Chili Fest as an introduction to the New Land Trust.
Yu admits to seeing wild turkey as well as and the usual chickadees, woodpeckers, and occasional Ruffed Grouse as well as tracks from hare and deer while skiing the trails.
Fundraising for this community-based project still continues for the Clubhouse roof but a newly donated woodstove and picnic area make the Clubhouse a cozy place to stop and relax.
“The New Land Trust is entirely supported by generous donations from our members, users, and friends. In addition, we are also grateful for the many hundreds of volunteer hours given for trail work and other infrastructure maintenance,” says Yu. “We appreciate any support we get, but visiting is always free.”
NLT has also found itself to be the recipient of various scouting projects. Most recently The Tree Trail Map was a Girl Scout project by Hannah Racette. The interpretive map starts at the Clubhouse building and identifies 14 different trees such as black cherry and quaking aspen and loops back to the Clubhouse. According to Yu the guide has proven to be a huge asset for school children having to complete Leaf Identification assignments. Visitors and naturalists will also find the Tree Trail Map beneficial.
The New Land Trust is currently a volunteer-run 501(c)3 organization that was founded in 1977 by SUNY Plattsburgh students as an experiment in cooperative land management. It is easy to stay within the property boundary. The New Land Trust borders Stillman Brook to the west, the railroad tracks to the northeast and 37 Road to the east.
If you need a chili recipe for the contest, here is a venison option by Adirondack Almanack contributor Annette Nielsen. Enjoy!
Photo: Skiing at New Land Trust, Saranac. Used with the permission of Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Time.
Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Tri-Lakes and High Peaks: Your Four Season Guide to Over 300 Activities. Her second book on Family Activities is due out this summer 2012 for the Champlain Valley Region from Plattsburgh to Ticonderoga.
You can ski for free on hundreds of trails in the Adirondack Forest Preserve, but if you’re looking for a few more creature comforts—such as groomed trails and a clubhouse with a wood stove—check out the New Land Trust trails outside the hamlet of Saranac. They’re free, too.
The New Land Trust got its start in 1977 when some Plattsburgh State College students and friends purchased an old farm. Today the land trust is a non-profit organization that maintains twenty-eight trails (totaling about ten kilometers) on 287 acres. While skiing at the New Land Trust over the weekend with my daughter Martha, we ran into Steve Jenks, a member of the trust board who lives nearby and maintains the trails. He led us down some of his favorite routes. We saw only a few other parties.
“People, why aren’t you here?” Jenks lamented. “The skiing here is fantastic, and it’s only a half-hour from Plattsburgh.”
He told us that the trust has improved its fiscal fitness in recent years but still needs money for a new roof for the clubhouse. The trust relies on donations from the public and on membership fees ($75 a year) to cover its taxes and other expenses. (Although the trails and lodge are open to the public for free, there is a donation box at the trail register.)
Most of the trails are mellow and don’t require a great deal of snow to be skiable. On Sunday, Martha and I skied the Saranac, a very attractive trail that led us past snow-covered balsams. Saranac is one of two main routes. We then took Night Rider to Solstice (the other main route), where we encountered Steve, who led us back to the clubhouse via a number of shorter trails.
The trails are all signed. Other amenities include two lean-tos, a bunkhouse, and a nifty outhouse. You can find a trail map and driving directions on the trust’s website. Trails maps also are available the register.
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