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Vital Lewis ATV trail link to be re-established soon

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HOUSEVILLE — Lewis County officials plan to re-establish soon a link in their all-terrain vehicle trail system between Tug Hill and Brantingham that was closed off in late May due to landowner concerns.

“I’m hoping by this weekend,” said Recreational Trail Coordinator Jacqueline L. Mahoney. “It depends on how well things go in establishing the trail and getting it signed.”

County legislators on Monday voted 9-0 to add a roughly 505-foot off-road trail running northwest from Houseville Road to the spot directly across Route 26 from Houseville Gulf Road, which would allow riders to cross the state road at that point. Legislator Richard C. Lucas, R-Barnes Corners, was absent.

Lawmakers also determined that, based on a study by the Lewis County Soil and Water Conservation District, the proposed trail on property owned by Kurt Linsenmaier would not have a significant impact under the state Environmental Quality Review process.

Mrs. Mahoney told lawmakers she had no problems with that determination.

“We want to do this the right way so we have no issues,” she said.

County officials a couple of months ago closed an ATV trail that had run from the south side of Houseville Road to a spot where riders were able to cross Route 12 onto Morgan Gulf Road.

That shut down the only legal Route 12 crossing available to ATV riders.

The old trail had been repaired by county and ATV club officials following the Snirt Run in April. However, one of the landowners, Benjamin Szalach, complained about dust and reportedly put a cable across the trail, even though there was some question whether he truly owns the right-of-way on the long-abandoned railroad bed it follows.

Mr. Linsenmaier, owner of the Old Church Inn bed and breakfast and some land on the former trail, by telephone from Pennsylvania initially indicated he may also want it closed after hearing about reported Snirt damage and complaining of some past issues.

However, county officials said a subsequent on-site meeting with Mr. Linsenmaier went well and led to the idea of the alternate route.

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