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Sun., Oct. 4
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St. Lawrence County nets money for trails


CANTON — St. Lawrence County will use a $250,000 grant through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council to start construction of a multiuse trail system.

“We plan on breaking ground this spring,” said Debbie A. Christy, the county’s trail coordinator.

The money will partially replace a $500,000 grant yanked in 2012 by Empire State Development just as the county was preparing to buy equipment.

At the time the grant was rescinded, the state may not have realized how much progress had been made toward developing the trail system that will link Lewis County to Franklin County through St. Lawrence County, said Legislator Alex A. MacKinnon, R-Fowler.

“We didn’t have the detail to go out and spend the money. This time, we’re ready to go. Now we know exactly where the trail system is going to be,” he said. “It’s half the money, but still, half is better than nothing. We’ll put it to good use. It shows first of all we’re being taken seriously.

After the county has reviewed the grant’s guidelines, it will be time to start spending the money on culverts, gravel, gates and equipment to build the trail, Ms. Christy said.

Some trails, particularly in the towns of Fine, Clifton, Clare and Russell, have been open for years, but an overall multiuse system has remained a dream. An environmental impact statement was accepted by a county legislative committee last year.

With some exceptions, the trail will be for snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, hikers, dogsledders, horseback riders and bicyclists.

A 22-mile pilot trail in Parishville shows that a careful design that is well marked cuts down on problems, Mr. MacKinnon said.

“I think we have demonstrated with the pilot trail that if you do things properly, you don’t get a mess,” he said. “We’ve had zero complaints.”

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