Chair: Tom Ortmeyer
I would like to recognize both our incoming and outgoing officers. Betsy Tisdale (Treasurer), Gene Kaczka (Vice-Chair, Conservation), and Armond Spencer (Vice-Chair, Outings) all have completed two two-year terms in their respective offices. They have served the chapter well during their time in these offices, so please join me in thanking them for their efforts.
Our incoming officers, elected at the 2008 Annual Meeting in November, are Eleanor Menz, Treasurer; Peter O'Shea, Vice-Chair, Conservation; Hollis Easter, Vice-Chair, Outings; and Geri Ames, Vice-Chair, Membership. Geri is starting her second term in that office. We have a strong team to guide the chapter in 2009, and I am looking forward to working with them all. Also, thanks to our nominating committee, John Omohundro, Brad Pendergraft, and Neal Burdick, for a job well done.
For the past several years, I have served on the St. Lawrence County Public and Private Lands Recreational Advisory Board. To date, the primary focus for this committee has been on multi-use trails suitable for the full range of recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and ATV'ing. The County's Pilot Trail System was recently opened in the Town of Parishville. It includes a combination of County Reforestation parcels, town roads, and county roads. A goal of the board is to develop a cross-county trail, connecting to Franklin County on the east and Lewis and/or Jefferson Counties on the southwest. The exact route for this cross-county trail is under discussion. The board is making every effort to ensure that these trails meet state law and guidelines, and are safe and environmentally sound. Youth Conservation Corps has also been active in developing a number of nice trails around the county.
As most of you know, the Laurentian Chapter has long been actively involved in trail development and maintenance. Notably, the chapter's efforts with the Stone Valley and Red Sandstone Trails have been vital to the establishment and success of these two trails. Currently, Mark Simon and John Omohundro serve the chapter as trail coordinators for these two trail systems. Chapter members also serve on the Raquette River Advisory Council and the St. Regis River Advisory Council. These groups work with Brookfield Power and other stakeholders on their respective Brookfield Hydro lands. Both chapter and club members are working on improving recreation during the re-licensing effort for the Oswegatchie River hydro plants.
The Adirondack Mountain Club has also been active in St. Lawrence County. A major focus has been in the Cranberry Lake/Star Lake area, where the club has organized three trailwork days on past National Trails Days, and is planning more in the near future. As reported in the September/October issue of Adirondac, the club has worked with the Five Ponds Partners, the DEC, the APA, the SUNY-ESF Ranger School, and numerous volunteers to develop the links in the Cranberry Lake 50, a 50-mile hiking loop around the lake.
All these efforts have expanded the recreational opportunities in the county. Still, more opportunities exist. I think it would be worthwhile to start a dialogue on trail opportunities and needs in our area. Please pass along your thoughts on this topic, and I will share them with the chaper.