Jackrabbit Ski Trail improved

The new section of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail. Photo by Phil Brown.
The new section of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail. Photo by Phil Brown.

This afternoon I took a short walk to check out the new section of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail created recently by the Adirondack Ski Touring Council. Not surprisingly, I ran into Tony Goodwin.

The ASTC executive director, Tony was working with a pick-ax and chainsaw to remove large roots from trail. A helper, Bill Dora, was working farther down the trail.

The council not only maintains the Jackrabbit, but it also works on other trails popular with skiers, such as the Van Hoevenberg Trail to Mount Marcy and the trail to Whiteface Landing.

Hat’s off to Tony and his gang. Given the sorry finances of the state, the Department of Environmental Conservation may need to rely more on volunteers to maintain the extensive network of trails in the Adirondack Park.

The Jackrabbit is a twenty-four-mile ski trail that runs between Saranac Lake and Keene. One of the most popular sections is the six-mile stretch from McKenzie Pond Road outside Saranac Lake to Whiteface Inn Road outside Lake Placid.

In the past, skiers climbed a small hill at the start of this section, passed a softball field, and then descended another hill. The snow cover on the hills was often sparse.

The rerouted trail avoids the hills and will be much better for skiing. It also avoids the ballfield, which makes the softball league that owns the land happy. It also avoids property owned by an adjacent landowner, Bob Scheefer, a Saranac lake contractor.

Scheefer used an earth mover to clear and level the first tenth of a mile of the trail—the part that skirts the hills. Goodwin’s crew then cleared roots and smoothed the trail surface.

The new trail continues for another 0.2 miles through a brushy area and a patch of evergreen forest before rejoining the old trail. This was done to move the trail off Scheefer’s property to the extent possible.

Tony said the council also plans to expand the trailhead parking area this year.

Tony Goodwin battles with a large root on the new part of the Jackrabbit.
Tony Goodwin battles a large root on the new part of the Jackrabbit.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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