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August 28, 2006

Keeping Stone Valley Trails Open: A Chapter Goal

By Dick Mooers

stonevalley2The popular Stone Valley trails in Colton give hikers and fishermen, and now and then expert kayakers, access to the scenic falls and rapids in a two mile stretch of the Raquette River as it drops 200 feet between Colton and Brown’s Bridge.  While many members of ADK enjoy hiking there in all seasons, not so many are aware that our chapter is responsible for there being a Stone Valley trail system, and that we still have a responsibility to maintain those trails.

Stone Valley has been a major project of the Laurentian Chapter for more than a quarter century. Many area residents, including Chapter member Lew Weeks and his family, enjoyed the informal river access trails for years before Lew came up with the idea of a trail system to be maintained by the Chapter for the benefit of the public. With lots of hard work and fun, Lew‘s concept became the Stone Valley Cooperative Recreational Area. 

Lew and his crews built the trails that take hikers along the east and west banks of the Raquette and along O’Malley Brook through County forest lands along the Lenny Road. The name Stone Valley was coined by Chapter member Brad Van Diver, who also prepared interpretive signage on the unique geology of the valley. Niagara Mohawk and its successors have generously supported the system with bridges and parking lots.

Each year, Stone Valley Trail Coordinator Mark Simon organizes work parties for Chapter members, and many non-members have worked alongside us. College and high school groups have helped, too, and the County’s Youth Conservation Corps has done extensive work from time to time.
work crew
The main responsibility for maintaining Stone Valley rests, though, with individual Laurentian Chapter members.  The work is fun and rewarding. Tools are provided by the Chapter, and work crews are led by experienced trail maintainers. Our crews cut back new growth, repair trail drainage, build rock and log steps, repair registers, and tack up fresh trail markers. Each worker ends the day with a great sense of having contributed to the enjoyment of nature by many people, people who will be thrilled by their Stone Valley experience, but utterly unaware of the Laurentian Chapter’s role in enabling them to enjoy their hike.

Dick is a long-time chapter member and currently our Publicity Coordinator. A Potsdam resident, you can often find Dick and his wife Peggy participating in local trails projects - unless they are off hiking, paddling, skiing, or  traveling in their motor home.

Map of Stone Valley

Stone Valley Trail Information

Stone Valley: A Community Resource

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