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Former forest ranger promoting local backcountry trails

Thirteenth Lake to North Creek Trail System offers much

Steven Ovitt and Rick Morse, of the Siamese Ponds Trail Improvement Society, show off the new Thirteenth Lake to North Creek Trail System.

Steven Ovitt and Rick Morse, of the Siamese Ponds Trail Improvement Society, show off the new Thirteenth Lake to North Creek Trail System. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— “There were a lot of historic trails out there,” Ovitt said. “What was wrong with the system? There were no loops. There were only dead-ends everywhere.”

So they developed a system with a series of loops, including a loop around Thirteenth Lake. Ovitt and volunteers from the Siamese Ponds Trail Improvement Society were able to use 14 miles of old trails to create the existing network.

“The old stuff that was garbage got thrown out, and new stuff got put in,” Ovitt said.

With 16 miles of new trails, there are now 30 miles of multi-season recreational trails in the Thirteenth Lake to North Creek Trail System.

“There is over a week’s worth of backcountry skiing here,” Ovitt said. “There’s a week’s worth of hiking for a family if they’re coming to stay here. You can start right here.”

Anyone interested in accessing the trail system can walk down to the North Creek train station and pick up the Carol A. Thomas Memorial Walking Trail), take it to the Ski Bowl, and walk from there to the top of Gore Mountain and back on a new, scenic trail along Roaring Brook. Or they can go all the way to Garnet Hill, then on to Siamese Ponds and King’s Flow.

“Most people don’t do the big stuff like that,” Ovitt said. “They do portions, two or three miles.

The trails can be used for hiking in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. Some trails are better than others for certain recreational activities, and mountain biking is limited to small sections on state-owned Wild Forest land. Biking is not allowed on state-owned wilderness land, such as the Siamese Ponds Wilderness Area, where a large portion of the trail system is located.

There is currently no written information on the trail system in guidebooks. Maps can be purchased for $2 at the Hudson River Trading Company.

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