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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Patching Trail Together a Few Feet at a Time

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easement grantor David Peterson holds a basket of picnic goodies given to him as a "thank you." (photo by Lynda Rummel)
based on an article in the Finger Lakes Trail News, Spring 2009

The North Country Trail has picked all the low-hanging fruit. This is how our trail building status is sometimes described. Most of the trail that can be built on public land has been completed or, at least, routed. The remainder of the route will have to be negotiated, small stretch by small stretch, with landowners.

The Finger Lakes Trail in New York has been teaching us how to work with landowners. A great deal of that trail (which is concurrent with the NCT for over 300 miles) passes off road by the generosity of landowners, often with handshake agreements. But, those agreements need to be made more legally binding to protect both parties. Easements are a good way to accomplish this.

The Finger Lakes Trail Conference (FLTC) has just announced three new easements on what is known as the Art Kopp section. Kopp was the former head of the Finger Lakes Chapter of the Adriondack Mountain Club. The trail between South Bradford and Watkins Glen is named for him.

The three new easements total about 1800 feet of trail, yet those few feet are critical to a continuous off-road route.
  • Stephen and Kathryn Trechter, owners of Sugar Hill Farm, granted an easement of 800 feet that lie between two sections of South Bradford State Forest.
  • Shirley and Peter Koseba have allowed passage from the hamlet of South Bradford to the old Moss Hill Road
  • David and Paulette Peterson provided for continuation of that route with an easement from old Moss Hill Road to the state forest boundary.
Trail leaders work hard to build good relationships with landowners. Hikers need to take responsibility to observe restrictions which landowners have requested. By such means the trail will be completed.

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