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Demong, village to host trail planning session at Mt. Pisgah

Olympic champion Bill Demong will joins officials from the village of Saranac Lake at a trail planning session tonight.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the village-owned Mt. Pisgah Ski Center.

Demong and other representatives of his business, Demong Designs, will join village project consultants and North Woods Engineering to discuss the multi-use trail project with members of the public.

According to Community Development Director Jeremy Evans, the village received a $600,000 grant from the state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation last year. Officials hope to use some of that money to develop a year-round multi-use trail system at Mt Pisgah, including a handicapped-accessible trail.

Evans notes the bulk of the grant is dedicated to purchasing and installing a new T-bar at Mt. Pisgah. But some $150,000 has been set aside for the trail plan, which was developed by former Mt. Pisgah Manager Matt Cook.

"Matt knew the mountain had the potential to be much more than a downhill ski center," Evans said.

"He brought in individuals and organizations with expertise in trail-building to look at the mountain and they all agreed that it was feasible and that there was a lot of demand for more trails in the area," he added.

The ski center's new manager, Charlie Martin, says he's amazed at the mountain's potential.

"We face some challenges, such as really aggressive terrain on the eastern face and the impact of the new water tank, but we can work around those challenges," Martin said.

Demong, who opened Demong Designs with Kris Seymour and Joe Garso, says he thrilled to be working with the village on the trail project.

"I'm looking forward to hearing what ideas and desires our local groups bring to the table and integrating these into a plan which creates a network of trails that can be enjoyed and utilized by all," he said.

In the coming weeks, Demong Designs and North Woods Engineering will use comments and ideas from stakeholders and the public to develop a trail master plan for the mountain that the village will use to coordinate construction of trails.

The village hopes to begin construction this summer.

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