Our land is your land: New Land Trust extends welcome to community

SARANAC Two hundred eighty-seven acres of pristine Adirondack wilderness owned by the New Land Trust adorn Saranacs remote back country. The land near the base of Lyon Mountain is one of Clinton Countys best kept secrets, but its one NLT members would like to become common knowledge. The membership-based organization has been dedicated to environmental and ecological stewardship, since its inception 30 years ago. As a non-profit organization, the NLT benefits from community involvement and interest, something they desire to increase. The NLT is supported through membership, member and avid skier Steve Jenks explained. The membership basically pays the taxes to sustain the NLT. Skiers and snowshoers are welcome at the NLT. If you have a good time, consider donating. Donations are accepted. Consider what it would cost to go to Lake Placid to ski. Mr. Jenks moved to the area 13 years ago and bought a home near the border of the NLT property. With the ability to cross-country ski from his front door to the NLT trails, he has skied the property so frequently he decided to become a member several years ago. Now, he is a member of the organizations governing board and is responsible for maintaining the trails. Every summer and fall, Mr. Jenks spends time clearing existing trails and creating new ones. He has named all the trails and hopes to have trail signs in place in the near future. Currently, there are seven trails Guadeloupe; Upper, Middle and Lower Saranac; Stonewall, Two-TrE; and 3-wall. Being able to ski as much as I do at the Trust is like being in heaven, he said. Many are immediately impressed by the beauty of the 20-25 kilometers of beginner to intermediate ski trails that traverse a wide variety of habitat. Conifer forests are filled with balsams and deciduous forests are decorated with bronze beech leaves which cling tenaciously to lower branches. Massive old trees stand like sentinels in the abundance of snow the property sees. Old apple orchards and meadows with sweeping mountain views can be found and up and over several stone walls, so can remnants of the days when the surrounding forests had been farm fields. With the exception of the occasional droning of a snowmobile when people ski near the propertys border with the old D&H Railroad bed, sounds of the outside world are seldom. The occasional twittering of hardy winter birds, the drilling of a woodpecker, or the thunderous fluttering of a partridge exploding from its snow burrow at the trails edge are among the most common sounds. Mr. Jenks, a busy father of three and sales representative for Automatic Data Processing, hits the ski trails as often as he can find the time. The majority of his skiing is done at night under the light of the moon or his head lamp. At that time, the silence is only broken by the occasional hooting of an owl, the howling of a coyote or a thundering partridge. When skiing through the woods at night, a partridge taking off right by your side can startle you, he said. I used to be afraid of vampires, he laughed, Now, I am afraid of partridges. Mr. Jenks confessed he actually feels depressed when spring brings an end to skiing at the NLT property and its that passion for the property he wants to share with others. Its his hope that one day the property will be a destination for families and groups desiring to get out and enjoy the great outdoors in an unspoiled part of the Adirondacks. In order to reach the NLT property, those coming from Plattsburgh must take State Route 3 into Saranac and turn right on Chazy Lake Road. At the top of the hill, turn left onto Clark Hill Road and continue several miles until reaching Plumadore Road. Take a right and follow Plumadore Road until a row of mailboxes and turn right onto Barn Road. The NLT property will be straight ahead. Mr. Jenks hopes access to the trails will eventually be possible at several spots. Currently, he advises all visitors start at the NLT barn where the caregivers live.

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