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Trail names honor locals at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center

Honorees Mary Jean Burke, Jack Burke, Helen Demong and Natalie Leduc listen as Jamie Konkoski and Margot Gold of North Country Healthy Heart Network prepare to cut the ribbon on new cross-country-ski trail signs at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in Saranac Lake Sunday.

Honorees Mary Jean Burke, Jack Burke, Helen Demong and Natalie Leduc listen as Jamie Konkoski and Margot Gold of North Country Healthy Heart Network prepare to cut the ribbon on new cross-country-ski trail signs at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in Saranac Lake Sunday.

— Volunteers helped Dewey Mountain Recreation Center begin to install new signs and introduce a new trail map Sunday.

The signage and a loop-based trail system are designed to improve flow and clarity on 13 kilometers of cross-country ski trails. Dewey Mountain, a multi-season recreation facility owned by the Town of Harrietstown, also features 10 kilometers of in-town snowshoe, mountain-bike and walking trails.

The bold new signs were funded by a mini-grant from North Country Healthy Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Places program, funded by the New York State Department of Health. One of the program’s goals is to increase opportunities for North Country residents to be physically active. The signs are designed to make trails more welcoming by clarifying routes and level of difficulty. The intent is to make it easier for visitors and newcomers to mountain sports to navigate trails safely.

The signs and loop system were created by Demong Designs, a trail design company co-owned by Bill Demong and Kris Cheney Seymour, two former Vermontville residents who know Dewey well from youth racing and coaching. Both now live in Utah.

Margot Gold and Jamie Konkoski of North Country Healthy Heart Network cut the ribbon with help from guests of honor. Trail names pay tribute to local people who have been important to the region’s winter sports heritage:

The trail “Timinator” honors Tim Burke, a two-time Olympian in biathlon originally from Paul Smith’s. Tim became the first North American ever to lead the World Cup circuit in 2009. Tim’s parents Jack and Mary Jean Burke were present Sunday to help inaugurate new trail names.

The trail “Iron Bill” honors Bill Demong, a four-time Olympian in Nordic combined who won gold and silver medals at the 2010 games. Bill’s mother Helen Demong represented the Demong family Sunday, helping cut the ribbon. Burke and Demong both learned to ski at Dewey and raced there as kids. They continue to compete at the world level and are active volunteers with their home mountain.

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