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March 9, 2013

DEC to close section of trail to retrieve plane

LAKE PLACID — Trails accessing the southern portion of the McKenzie Mountain Wilderness will be closed today to allow removal of plane wreckage from Big Burn Mountain.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said a section of the Jack Rabbit Trail between Whiteface Inn Road in Lake Placid and McKenzie Pond Road near Saranac Lake will be closed.

The Haystack Mountain Trail on Route 86 in Ray Brook will also be shut down.

People who plan to ski the Jack Rabbit Trail are encouraged to use other sections of the trail or the nearby Moose Pond Trail off Route 3 north of Saranac Lake.

DEC forest rangers and DEC officers will be stationed at the three trailheads for these trails during the closure.

A helicopter will be used to lift the plane wreckage off the mountain and set it down at nearby location. Due to the extent of the damage, pieces of the plane could fall on the trails, necessitating their closure.

The plane crashed on the side of Big Burn Mountain on Feb. 21 during an attempt to land at the Lake Placid Airport. The pilot and his two passengers survived the plane crash unhurt and were rescued by DEC forest rangers early the next morning.

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