News Archive

News

August 28, 2006

Stone Valley:  A Community Resource

By Mark Simon, ADK Laurentian Chapter, Stone Valley Trail Coordinator

The Laurentian Chapter has a long history of involvement with Stone Valley, initiated by chapter member Lew Weeks. There is a plaque in his honor, embedded in a huge rock along the east side trail: “We who enter the Stone Valley Cooperative Recreation Area owe the pleasure to Lewis “Lew” Weeks, 1920 - 1999, whose energy and vision brought many of us together to build and maintain trails in this special place for the benefit of all. Knowing Lew, we dedicate this to you, the visitor. Marvel and take care.

Rain fell in a steady drizzle, interspersed with periods of downpour throughout the 45-degree day when over 30 volunteers converged on Stone Valley. This was the opening day of a fall work weekend in the Stone Valley Recreation area. Although the weather was less than ideal for trail work, many of the volunteers embraced the poor weather as they worked on projects that ranged from picking up the decaying carcasses of illegally-dumped television sets to building bridges spanning six-foot wide streams.

work 1The Stone Valley Recreation area is located along the Raquette River on lands owned by Reliant Energy, St. Lawrence County, and the Town of Colton. The trail system features dramatic waterfalls and rapids, which have cut gorges and plunge pool potholes formed in solid rock.Other sections include over 12 miles of maintained trails that traverse hardwood forests and pine plantations along the O’Malley Brook. This area offers an unusual opportunity for hiking, cross-country skiing, nature study, and historical exploration. In addition to these traditional uses of the land, whitewater kayakers and mountain bikers also use the recreation area.  

The Laurentian Chapter’s stewardship role in Stone Valley began in August of l988 when Lew Weeks initiated the cooperative arrangement that created the recreation area, which has resulted in a long-term commitment to the preservation of Stone Valley as a community resource. The goal of the trail work was to maintain the natural ecosystems in order to preserve the quality recreation experience that currently exists. The objectives of the trail work were to: 1) improve the existing trail in order to minimize impacts on soil and vegetation, 2)  improve visitor safety over water crossings and steep sections of the trail, 3) remove the garbage left from illegal dumping and, 4) block motorized  access in an effort to curtail future dumping.
work 2
The trail work that took place this fall was a joint community effort, which involved over 30 volunteers, and spanned several weekends. Volunteers from the Clarkson Mountain Biking Club provided the muscle to move and install four 25’ telephone poles for two bridges and a .25-mile trail re-route on the O’Malley Brook Trail. SUNY Potsdam Wilderness Education students installed trail registers, check dams along steep sections of trail, and over eighteen telephone pole posts to block unauthorized motor vehicle access in an effort to prevent illegal dumping along the Lenny Road. The BOCES Lean-to Program completed over 150’ of log cribbing near the Tub section of the trail. North Country Adolescent Outreach helped to remove seven pick-up loads of garbage from the trail system and install water bars to mitigate erosion on steep sections of trail. In addition, volunteers such as Chad Crosby, Mark and Suzanne Kenney, Bill Beauchamp, and Jeanine Tallman, have logged over 40 hours over the past year working in Stone Valley.

The trail weekends were a success, benefiting all involved. Volunteers made a lasting contribution to the resource; their projects will remain as witness to their dedication to wild areas, and with future volunteer work, Stone Valley will maintain its wild and beautiful character for many years to come.Thanks to Evans and White True Value Hardware in Potsdam for donating work gloves, the Nicholville Telephone Company for donating telephone poles used for building the bridges, Reliant Energy for donating the registration boxes, and Phil Bridgeman for donating the decking material for the bridge over O’Malley Brook. If you are interested in participating in the ongoing work projects contact Mark Simon (315) 262-2571, Laurentian Chapter Trail Coordinator for Stone Valley. The next work day is June 13.

Directions to Stone Valley: Easiest access is from Colton. Turn east off State Route 56 at the Colton Library. There is a parking area for the trail along the west side of the river on the left, just before the bridge across the river. Or, continue over the bridge, turn left and follow road to a parking area for the trail along the east side of the river. Both trails are 3.2 miles long and come out to the Browns Bridge road. A loop can be made by continuing along the road and crossing the river to find the trail on the other side.

Beware: even during low-water periods, sudden, unexpected, releases from the dam can cause rapidly rising water, creating dangerous situations. Stay on the trail.


Map of Stone Valley

Stone Valley Trail Information

Keeping Stone Valley Trails Open

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