LOWVILLE – The Lewis County Board of Supervisors approved a new 7.5-mile trail addition to the county’s off-road trail system at its Tuesday meeting.
The section of the trail will pass through a county owned piece of land used for forestry, according to Jackie Mahoney, executive director of the Department of Recreation, Forests and Parks, in the Abbey, Beals and Fowlerville Road area in the town of Greig.
“(The cost of the trail) was going to be part of a grant, but due to the restrictions on US steel in the grant (requirements), we are not doing the grant,” Ms. Mahoney said. “We will try to (build the track) internally.”
For most trail projects, the recreation department applies for grants to pay for any new equipment needed while Ms. Mahoney and her team help with trail construction work and other materials as the county match for program funds. grants. Due to Trump-era restrictions on imported steel, however, the subsidy that applies to this type of project will only pay for equipment made from 100% American steel, she said, and no waivers were available to work around the problem.
The decision has been made to try to break the track with the material they have, but it won’t be easy.
“I have some (equipment) but I really need a bigger tractor, so I was going to go for a 70 horsepower tractor with tools,” Ms. Mahoney said.
She hopes her budget request for next year, which includes additional staff as well as necessary equipment, will be approved by lawmakers.
“We are so far behind because of COVID,” Ms. Mahoney said of her team’s trail work. “So it won’t be done until next year. We are too close to the season and we are already in the rainy season.
The new section of the trail connects to the “Commons” area of the trail and, due to the sandy soil in the area, Ms. Mahoney believes that once the trail is created it won’t be too difficult to maintain compared to some trails. . on the Tug Hill plateau.
Once this section of trail is completed, the county will have approximately 95 miles of off-road trails to “improve the recreational use of the natural resources available in the county, as well as to encourage tourism,” as outlined in legislation that has created the system in 2019.