A 12.8-mile multi-use trail connecting Inlet and Raquette Lake in Hamilton County is now open, state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced Friday.
The Seventh Lake Mountain Trail through the Moose River Plains Wild Forest will provide the public with four-season opportunities to snowmobile, hike and bike, DEC officials said. The new trail connects with the existing Moose River Plains trail system.
The trail has been built by DEC crews from Regions 5 and Region 6, with assistance from the Student Conservation Association Adirondack Program, the towns of Long Lake, Inlet and Indian Lake, the New York State Snowmobile Association and volunteers.
"The construction of this important multiple-use trail could not have been accomplished without the many organizations and municipalities we work with in partnership as stewards of the public lands in the Adirondack Park," Martens said.
However, the trail has also been criticized by at least one environmental organization, which said it will encourage illegal motorized use in the Forest Preserve.
"We think this trail will be extremely attractive to ATV riders," said Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks.
The trail and the bridges on it are designed for use by motorized snowmobile trail groomers, which are much larger than snowmobiles, weighing four- or five tons, Bauer said. "We think that state law prohibits groomers on these trails," he said.
Protect the Adirondacks last month issued a report criticizing the trail's construction.
"The current trail condition left us feeling disappointed about the environmental damage encountered, most notably regarding wetlands and stream crossings, and the lack of measures for stormwater pollution prevention and control," the group said.