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St. Lawrence County contracts for trail coordination

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CANTON — The development of recreational trails in St. Lawrence County took a step forward Monday with a decision by the St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators to contract for a coordinator.

Legislators agreed, in an 11-4 vote, to contract with Travel Unlimited, Canton, for about $41,000 to provide the service for the next six months.

Travel Unlimited is owned by Debbie A. Christy, longtime president of the county snowmobile association and a member of the county’s Trail Advisory Board that is working on a multiuse trail system that will link up with Lewis and Franklin counties.

Ms. Christy, who grew up in the Tug Hill region, said she has been an avid snowmobiler and all-terrain-vehicle enthusiast since she was young.

“I just love the outdoors. I just am excited for the opportunity, and I can’t wait to see our plans as they unfold,” she said. “I might not have all the technical ability to do the job, but I do feel I have the enthusiasm and I’m a quick learner.”

Ms. Christy said she will turn for advice on technical issues to members of the advisory committee, which includes representatives of all trail users.

The county has talked for some time about hiring a coordinator to build on the work of the committee.

Among her first steps will be to inventory existing trails, Ms. Christy said.

An environmental review of the nearly 200-mile multiuse trail that will run through Colton, Parishville, Hopkinton and Clifton is being completed, after which portions may open, Ms. Christy said. A permit system, most likely handled by volunteers, is in the offing.

“We want it to be self-sustaining,” Ms. Christy said.

Legislator Anthony J. Arquiett, D-Helena, urged his fellow lawmakers to see the contract with Travel Unlimited as an investment that would improve the economy, not just help ATV and snowmobile riders.

“It’s for all outdoor recreationists,” he said.

However, Legislator Kevin D. Acres, R-Madrid, said that those who use the trails and benefit from them should be the ones paying for their development. Other legislators have worried over where the money would come from to pay for the contract.

Joining Mr. Acres in voting against the contract were Gregory M. Paquin, D-Massena, Jonathan S. Putney, D-Waddington, and Mark H. Akins, R-Lisbon.

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