A group that's been doing a lot of great work recently is Champlain Area Trails (CATS), which is headquartered here in Westport and run by Chris Maron. CATS hopes to bring more visitors to our local shops, restaurants, and other businesses by establishing a network of hiking trails linking various communities in the Champlain Valley.
Over the past several years, CATS volunteers have cleared beautiful new trails not only in Westport, but also in Essex and Willsboro. And just last weekend, they expanded their horizons with a new trail to Cheney Mountain in Moriah, just south of the Pelfershire Road. "Volunteers came from Port Henry, Mineville, Moriah, Crown Point, Westport, Wadhams, Essex, and even southeast Kentucky," Chris says. "After some tasty muffins, welcoming words, and introductions, we cut branches and saplings, removed fallen logs, weed-whacked through tall goldenrod, and put up trail markers as we worked uphill to the summit." The trail to the summit, which offers a breathtaking view of the lake, is nearly done now, but they'll need another work day to finish it. If you're interested in volunteering, or if you want to get on their email list for future projects, call CATS at 962-2287 or visit champlainareatrails.com.
CATS has also announced an exciting Travel Writing Contest with a First Prize of $500 and a People's Choice Award (decided by online voting) of $250. For contest guidelines, visit the CATS website (see above). In a nutshell, they're looking for "real experiences by real people" who have enjoyed the natural beauty as well as the fine dining, lodging and/or shopping available in the area. The deadline for submissions is midnight, December 5, so get cracking.
Next up in my lecture series The Story Behind the Story at the Whallonsburg Grange, we'll be looking at the history behind H. G. Wells' classic sci-fi tale The Time Machine. Among other things, we'll consider the urgent question, "Why does a Time Machine resemble a bicycle?" Audiences around here tend to be curious and well-informed, and so we always have a lively Q&A at the end. That's Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 7:30 p.m.