VIC trails open for winter recreation

PAUL SMITHS - The Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) at Paul Smiths recently opened its trail system for winter use. This means the public may ski and snowshoe on select trails and dogs are not allowed on the properties until the spring.

The Paul Smiths VIC features about 9.5 miles of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails for people of all abilities, not including the trail to the summit of Jenkins Mountain. The Shingle Mill Falls Loop is 0.7 miles, not including the 0.4 miles to get there via the Heron Marsh Trail.

In all, the Shingle Mill Falls Loop from the VIC building is 1.5 miles. The Hemlock Trail and Heron Marsh Loop are both 0.8 miles, and the Tamarack Ski Trail is 2.1 miles. The longest is the Esker Ski Trail at 4 miles. Trails are groomed, and cross-country ski tracks are set by VIC staff throughout the ski season. In addition, the western trailhead of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail is located at the Paul Smiths VIC.

This scenic trail travels through the woods from Paul Smiths to the hamlet of Lake Clear.

There are several snowshoe trails on the 2,885-acre property, including an 8.2-mile round-trip up scenic Jenkins Mountain. Skis or snowshoes are required on all trails, except the 0.8-mile Barnum Brook Trail, where walking is allowed during the winter. The Northwoods Snowshoe Trail is 2.2 miles roundtrip from the trailhead.

The Boreal Life Snowshoe Trail is 1.3 miles. People may ski on the snowshoe trails and snowshoe on the ski trails; however, snowshoers are asked to give skiers the right of way and stay to one side of the tracks on ski trails.

Skiers and snowshoers must bring their own equipment to the Paul Smiths VIC.

The trails are open from dawn to dusk every day, and the buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday during the winter season (Nov. 1 - April 30). Dogs are not allowed on the VIC trails in the winter season. Here are the other VIC rules:

•Stay on the marked trails.

•Stay off the ice.

•Stay away from closed areas.

•Report trail maintenance needs to VIC staff.

•Do not collect natural objects or disturb wildlife.

•Buildings close at 5 p.m.

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