As soon as I heard about the New Land Trust in Saranac NY, I knew I had to try it out for myself. I admit that I am a bit rusty when it comes to controlling a pair of skis, but I chose to take the skis and leave my snowshoes behind for this exploration. A lot of people in the Champlain Valley are itching for snow in this mostly snow free winter. Here’s your chance! Only a few miles outside of the Plattsburgh City Limits you’ll find snow-a-plenty! The New Land Trust has many trails just waiting for your snowshoes and cross country skis. Since I just recently became aware of the existance of the New Land Trust in Saranac NY, this was my first visit. When I arrived at the parking area I knew I was in for a treat. There’s a sign post there with a peaceful message of “Welcome to the New Land Trust Inc.”, “skis or snowshoes required”. This was definitely the place I’ve been needing to visit all winter! posted on this sign is a normal letter size piece of paper with an explanation of the New Land Trust and it’s reason for existing. It read…
“For the Community, supported by the community”
Founded in 1977, the New Land Trust began as the inspiration of SUNY Plattsburgh students and friends. In a combined effort to purchase an old farm, the Land Trust was an experiment in cooperative land management. Today the NLT is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that exists for the community and is supported through private donations. The public is welcome to visit. Membership is not required to enjoy the land. With 31 trailson 287 acres, the New Land Trust is a gem of recreational opportunity–waiting for you to come an explore for yourself!
At this point I was excited to begin “exploring for myself” I strapped on my skis and headed on up the trail to a cabin and a sign in sheet for the NLT visitors. There’s a map available in the cabin if you did not already print one off of the NLT website ( http://www.newlandtrust.org/ ) like I did. Even without a map, the trail is very well marked at the junction of each trail with NLT ‘road signs’ and a map depicting each trail. There’s also clear markings for the exit when one is ready to pack it in for the day which can be helpful to any of us who aren’t in for skiing around in circles for a few extra hours trying to find our way back to the cabin.
Todays weather was absolutely perfect for venturing out through the NLT. Many people were there to take advantage of the conditions. As I was signing in, a fairly large group of young beginners were gathering themselves near the cabin for their trek. I myself hadn’t had a pair of skis on my feet since I was in my teens, so something inside of me was saying “follow them!”, but the rest of me was saying “nah go explore”. I followed the latter and headed on along the Saranac trail. I had to do a dash between the young skiers who weren’t making it too far without falling down or losing skis. Their falling down made me feel a bit more comfortable with my own lacking abilities which will later prove themselves. All of the trails I visited today were narrow paths in the woods and mostly easy. I did turn off of my route on the Saranac trail only a few times to find this novice skier backtracking to where he had come from. For the novice skier, some trails are a bit hilly. I did manage a rather poetic tumble followed up by a scramble to regain composure in an attempt not to be seen. Lesson two: Scrambling for composure creates a less than impressive display of inabilities followed up by an equally poetic re-take of ones previous maneuver. If I had chosen to go with my snowshoes, I would have had no issue at all with some of the inclines. For the most part, the trails are gradual and well worth exploring. I could have stayed out all day if it weren’t for prior obligations.
So for anyone looking for a great cross country/snowshoe trail well maintained “for the community,supported by the community” this is definitely the place to be. Its easy to find, and a thrill to enjoy. I’ll be going back soon! Who’s coming with me?