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St. Lawrence County Mountain Bike Club to hold general interest meeting tonight

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POTSDAM — The St. Lawrence County Mountain Bike Club is gearing up for its 2014 season.

The club will hold an annual general interest meeting at 7 p.m. today at Between the Buns, 6 Elm St., to discuss goals for riding and improving trails.

The club, which has been around for about five years, has 20 members from all over the county who ride and maintain 50 miles of multi-use trails through the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Adopt-A-Natural-Resource Stewardship Program. The trails include miles in Downerville State Forest in Russell, High Flats State Forest and an section of the Stone Valley Cooperative Recreation Area between Colton and Brown’s Bridge.

“The mountain bike movement is growing across the country, and our group has that same interest,” said James L. Akins, president of the club. “Every spring we go out on the trails to clear the brush to make them ride and hike worthy.”

This spring, however, the club may get a later start on the cleanup process.

“Because of the winter we’ve had, it will probably be at least another two weeks before we can start cleaning up because there’s still a good amount of snow in the woods,” Mr. Akins said. “It’s going to take a week’s worth of work.”

Mr. Akins, of Canton, has been biking for 20 years. He said that within the last year the club has become a nonprofit organization, elected officials and established bylaws, including its mission to “create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers in St. Lawrence County.”

Tonight’s meeting is open to the public.

“We welcome new members,” Mr. Akins said. “As the days get longer, most of the members ride after work or on the weekends.”

He said the goals discussed in the meeting will be both long and short term.

The club’s main long-term goal is to make St. Lawrence County a mountain bike destination, he said.

“We want our trails to be talked about by mountain bikers from all over the nation,” Mr. Akins said.

Short term, he said the club would like to hold off on building new trails and focus on improving the quality of existing trails by removing rough sections and bringing them to a beginner-intermediate level of terrain.

“The club is looking forward to being more visible in the community,” Mr. Akins said. “These trails are not just for members but for the community at large.”

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