July 1, 2013
New Trails in Progress and Proposed in the Stone Valley Recreation Area
Mark Simon, Stone Valley Trail Coordinator
Two new major projects have been approved on the east and west sides of Stone Valley. The project on the west side of Stone Valley will involve opening up the old access road which is approximately three miles long and roughly parallels the east side of the pipe which runs from the Colton Dam to the power generation station at Browns Bridge. The character of this trail terrain will be similar to the gravel access road on the east side of the pipe, but will have a more natural feel, as it twists and turns with changes in elevation. With the exception of the first quarter mile which will be new trail, the old access road is a 8’-10’corridor which will provide gentle terrain for hiking and biking. A mountain bike trail is also marked and planned to be built which runs between the old access road and the existing hiking trail along the west side of the river. Constructing the new quarter mile section of trail and marking the existing access road is expected to be completed this October during the trail work weekend.
The project on the east side of Stone Valley, which is termed the O’Malley Brook trail extension, is currently under construction. This project involves extending the O’Malley Brook hiking trail approximately a half mile further upstream along the brook, building a new bridge, and accessing the existing trail system on the south side of the brook. As part of this project, a series of mountain bike trail segments will be built utilizing the gentle terrain on the county land to the south side of the brook.
The character of these mountain bike trails will be very different from most of the trail segments that currently exist in Stone Valley. These trails are designed specifically for mountain bike use and take advantage of the gentle elevation contours in this area. They curve and weave along contours taking advantage of descents and terrain changes that allow for fun riding conditions. This type of trail design provides an experience for mountain bikers that is akin to skiing in glades. Due to the design of these trails, new riders and seasoned riders will be able to enjoy and be challenged by the terrain. The mountain bike trail segments are currently under construction and will be approximately two miles in length. Two hundred yards of trail have already been built with more progress being made every week.
As Soil and Water Conservation District Manager, Dawn Howard manages the County Forests within the Stone Valley Recreation Area where the O’Malley Brook trail extension project and new mountain bike trails are located. She has been very helpful in shepherding the trail proposal through the approval process. She and her staff have worked closely with the ADK on this project. Dawn is currently working on the permitting process with the Department of Environmental Conservation to gain approval for the proposed bridge crossing O’Malley Brook.
Ben Yandeau, crew chief for the mountain bike trail system designed the trail layout in accordance with International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Standards. Ben has scheduled and will be leading work sessions on Thursday evenings at 5:00 PM until dark as a Laurentian Chapter Outing. The first two outings have been attended by both Adirondack Mountain Club Volunteers and members of the St Lawrence Mountain Bike Association.
Jul 1, 2013: New Trails for Stone Valley