NEWCOMB - The Adirondack Park Agency Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC) at Newcomb recently opened their trail system for winter use. This means the public may ski and snowshoe on select trails and dogs are not allowed on the properties until the spring.
The Newcomb VIC offers 3.6 miles of snowshoe trails on the 236-acre property: 0.5-mile Rich Lake Trail; 1-mile Sucker Brook Trail; 1-mile R.W. Sage Jr. Memorial Trail; and 1-mile Peninsula Trail. In addition, a connector trail connects the Sage Trail to the Great Camp Santanoni trail.
The 1.1-mile Sage Trail is the only trail open in its entirety to cross-country skiing and brings visitors to the 0.7-mile connector trail for those who are interested in extending their trip to the Camp Santanoni property. In order to get to the Sage Trail, skiers must travel along the northern portion of the Sucker Brook Trail, which takes visitors around the outlet of Rich Lake.
"The open water of the outlet is a great place to look for otters, or at least their slides, in the winter," said Newcomb VIC Center Director Rynda McCray. "Many other animal signs can be seen along this trail as it winds through a variety of forest habitats."
Skiers must bring their own equipment to the Newcomb VIC. People may either bring their own snowshoes or borrow the VIC's snowshoes for free.
VIC trail rules
The trails are open from dawn to dusk every day, and the buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday during the winter season (Nov. 1 - April 30). Dogs are not allowed on the VIC trails in the winter season. Here are the other VIC rules:
•Stay on the marked trails.
•Stay off the ice.
•Stay away from closed areas.
•Report trail maintenance needs to VIC staff.
•Do not collect natural objects or disturb wildlife.
•Buildings close at 5 p.m.
VIC employees encourage winter visitors to dress for the weather. That means wool or synthetics, which will keep people the warmest. They should also drink plenty of fluids and keep their feet, hands and head warm and dry. Allow ample time to return to the buildings, as it gets dark between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. in the winter.
For the latest trail conditions, log on to the VIC Web site at www.adkvic.org or contact each VIC by phone: Newcomb at (518) 582-and Paul Smiths at (518) 327-3000. Trail maps are available at the front desk of each VIC or as PDF downloads on the VIC Web site.
The New York State Adirondack Park Agency operates two Visitor Interpretive Centers (VICs), in Paul Smiths and Newcomb, serving the environmental education and visitor orientation needs of the Adirondack Park since 1989. The VICs offer a wide array of educational programs, miles of scenic interpretive trails, and visitor information services.
They are open year-round, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, May 1 - Oct. 31; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, Nov. 1 - April 30. Trails are open year-round, dawn to dusk. Admission is free.