A Focus on Biking in the Adirondacks – and the Saranac Lake Wild Forest Management Plan

The Village of Saranac Lake is calling on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to swiftly approve  a draft unit management plan (UMP) for the Saranac Lake Wild Forest to include many added trails for mountain biking and hiking.   Community Development Director Jeremy Evans says there are lot of different organizations that are either building or maintaining different Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, Dewey Mountain is a good example, Mt Pisgah, and Historic Saranac Lake walking tours, another.

AUDIO – VSLB Wild Forest UMP

Saranac Lake’s Community Development Officer, Jeremy Evans speaks to the Board about Saranac Lake’s Wild Forest unit Management Plan


Village Mayor Clyde Rabideau said, “We are surrounded by thousands of acres in the Saranac Lake Wild Forest that could provide much more recreational and scenic opportunities for our residents and visitors if the state would finally act on updated UMP which has been in the works for 7 years and is taking much too long.  Rabideau continued, “It’s time to get it done and give access to the people and spur economic development in the heart of the Adirondacks.”

Rabideau noted that Village officials recently sat down with NYSDEC, the Town of Harrietstown and members of Bark Eater Trails Alliance (BETA), a mountain bike trail building and advocacy group, to discuss their proposals for new mountain biking trails in the Saranac Lake Wild Forest.

“We were pleased to see that NYSDEC has included most of proposed new trails in its draft plan,” said Rabideau, adding “We stressed that inclusion of the trails is critical to our area’s recreational and economic development, and to interconnectedness with other mountain-biking opportunities in the region.  Combined with the mountain-biking trails at Pisgah and Dewey, and Saranac Lake’s new master plan for biking and pedestrians in and around the Village, new trails in the Saranac Lake Wild Forest have the potential to make Saranac Lake a premier destination for mountain-biking in the northeast.”  North Elba’s Robi Politi was unable to attend, but forwarded his support of the Village’s position.

The resolution will be sent to the state agencies and state lawmakers, encouraging the completion and approval of the plan in 2013.

The Barkeater Trails Alliance is an organization that works with communities to build biking trails and Evans says the Village’s Objective is to bring all of this work together. Saranac Lake’s Mayor Clyde Rabideau says BETA has worked very hard to make sure that we link up different trails and create new ones for not just biking but for walking and hiking and mountain climbing.  Right now, if you’re in the Mckensie Mountain wilderness for example on the Jackrabbit Trail you can’t mountain bike. On the South side of route 86 is Saranac Lake Wild Forest and snowmobiling and mountain biking are uses that can be accommodated, but the State’s Unit Management plan doesn’t specifically allow for mountain biking. So as this process continues, organizations like the Barkeater Trails Alliance wants to assure that mountain bikes and these regional trail connections are accommodated to create a larger trail system for the region.

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