Local News

January 2, 2010

New Land Trust offers great cross-country trails


Contact the New Land Trust by mail at P.O. Box 101, Saranac, NY 12981.

The Web site is

Donations and new members are welcome.

Somehow, the cold feels colder each succeeding winter.

My coping mechanisms depend on the presence of an early snowfall.

When I can go out and play in the white stuff, whether with snowshoes or cross-country skis, my winter mood stays at a much higher level.

This year appears to have gotten off to a good start.

Friends have urged me to try the cross-country ski trails at New Land Trust, and last week, I finally took their advice. This place will now become a winter mainstay for me.


The New Land Trust dates back to the 1970s, when a group of area students purchased a plot of land near the small hamlet of Saranac. Apparently there was an ebb and flow to their use of the property, at least until a nucleus of people, including some of the original buyers, renewed their dedication to the place over recent years.

Volunteer labor has led not only to trail development but also to buildings that enhance use of the area. There's a clubhouse, an open-air lean-to, a bunkhouse and even a stage on the grounds. Oh, yes, and a few outhouses, much more decorative in appearance than the one- and two-holers of a previous era.

The New Land Trust Web site gives clear directions. I turned off Route 3 in Saranac onto Chazy Lake Road. At a four-way stop, Chazy Lake Road goes right, but I continued straight on Clark Hill Road. "NLT" signs point the way, but sometimes they were hard to find.

There's a marker at the intersection denoting the first settlement of the town. This may now be just a quiet rural crossroads, but once, homes, a sawmill, school, church, cemetery and hotel filled the area. An Indian trail and later a smuggling route crossed the spot, and during the War of 1812, British and American troops skirmished nearby. It's a reminder of how much history attaches to almost every place around us.

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