LOWVILLE — Their vision is of a curated hiking path through the heart of the Tug Hill Plateau, providing sustainable access on the longest continuous hiking trail outside of the Adirondack Park and the only non-motorized long-distance trail on the hill.
The Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust has been working to bring the Traverse Trail to fruition for more than six years and through another round of volunteer workdays, will lengthen the readied trail closer to its 20-mile goal.
The first of these workdays, focusing on the maintenance of 3 miles of trail completed in the town of West Turin between Michigan Mills Road and the G&W Road in 2016, will be Friday beginning at 10 a.m. with volunteers convening at the Michigan Mills Road Trailhead.
“It’s a fun way to spend some time with family, friends, or coworkers, get outside, and get your hands dirty,” according to the news release on the workdays.
About a quarter of the total trail has been prepped so far, in part as a result of the 15 volunteer workdays held last year.
Beginning at the northern-most end of the trail in the town of Montague near the Tug Hill State Wildlife Management Area, the trail will continue south until its designated end near the Osceola-West Leyden Road in the town of Osceola.
While some trees do have to be cut down to make way for the trail, according to land trust Executive Director Linda Garrett, the size of the trail keeps the number to a minimum.
“It’s pretty narrow,” Ms. Garrett said in an interview last year. “(The trail is) constructed for foot travel and to discourage motorized use. There’s a ton of places that ATVs and snowmobilers can go. This is not one of them.”
The trail was the brainchild of land trust board member Robert J. McNamara and his hiking buddy Zach Wakeman in 2014, after having hiked across the plateau for about 10 years using a different route on each crossing through the core forest.
“We’ve crisscrossed almost every possible way. When you do that, you see some fantastic country,” Mr. McNamara said in a 2017 interview. “It’s really unique too — it’s lots and lots of wetlands, strings of beaver flows and all different kinds of wetland plant communities.”
On Friday, hands will get dirty through the removal of downed limbs, side-cutting along the trail and weed whacking. Volunteers are encouraged to bring tools like loppers and saws, as well as gloves and lunch.
Land trust personnel warn volunteers that it takes about 20 minutes to get from Route 26 to the Michigan Mills Road Trailhead, with the final section of the road rocky, requiring slow speeds.
Other workdays are scheduled for June 19; July 9 and 17; Aug. 20 and 28; and Sept. 10 and 18. Volunteers will meet at 10 a.m. on each day.
To register to volunteer, go to the event section of www.tughilltomorrowlandtrust.org and click on the volunteer workday page for Friday.