Honorees Mary Jean Burke, Jack Burke, Helen Demong and Natalie Leduc listen as Jamie Konkoski and Margot Gold of North Country Healthy Heart Network prepare to cut the ribbon on new cross-country-ski trail signs at Dewey Mountain Recreation Center in Saranac Lake Sunday.
Volunteers helped Dewey Mountain Recreation Center begin to install new signs and introduce a new trail map Sunday.
The signage and a loop-based trail system are designed to improve flow and clarity on 13 kilometers of cross-country ski trails. Dewey Mountain, a multi-season recreation facility owned by the Town of Harrietstown, also features 10 kilometers of in-town snowshoe, mountain-bike and walking trails.
The bold new signs were funded by a mini-grant from North Country Healthy Heart Network’s Creating Healthy Places program, funded by the New York State Department of Health. One of the program’s goals is to increase opportunities for North Country residents to be physically active. The signs are designed to make trails more welcoming by clarifying routes and level of difficulty. The intent is to make it easier for visitors and newcomers to mountain sports to navigate trails safely.
The signs and loop system were created by Demong Designs, a trail design company co-owned by Bill Demong and Kris Cheney Seymour, two former Vermontville residents who know Dewey well from youth racing and coaching. Both now live in Utah.
Margot Gold and Jamie Konkoski of North Country Healthy Heart Network cut the ribbon with help from guests of honor. Trail names pay tribute to local people who have been important to the region’s winter sports heritage:
The trail “Timinator” honors Tim Burke, a two-time Olympian in biathlon originally from Paul Smith’s. Tim became the first North American ever to lead the World Cup circuit in 2009. Tim’s parents Jack and Mary Jean Burke were present Sunday to help inaugurate new trail names.
The trail “Iron Bill” honors Bill Demong, a four-time Olympian in Nordic combined who won gold and silver medals at the 2010 games. Bill’s mother Helen Demong represented the Demong family Sunday, helping cut the ribbon. Burke and Demong both learned to ski at Dewey and raced there as kids. They continue to compete at the world level and are active volunteers with their home mountain.
The trail “Natski” honors Natalie Leduc, ski historian and a former women’s state champion in slalom, downhill and combined, as well as a Class A cross-country ski racer. Leduc is a tireless supporter of winter sports in all forms. She has coached alpine and cross-country, and her passion is making skiing available to children, and making sure that local skiers who have gone before are remembered. Leduc helped cut the ribbon Sunday.
The trail “Wolff” pays tribute to the Wolff family’s dedication to promoting winter sports in the region, especially Phil and Elsie Wolff. Patriarch Phil Wolff, who passed away last year at age 95, is remembered most prominently for his roles as Chief of Staff of the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Organizing Committee and founder of the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Museum. Phil and Elsie’s grandson Stephen represented the family Sunday.
The trail “Margie” honors Margaret Wilson Lamy, who also embodies the region’s Olympic spirit and is a linchpin of two winter-sports families, the Lamys and Wilsons, who competed at the world level in skating, bobsledding and cross-country skiing. Marge also chronicled local sports history for several publications.
The trail “Thanks, Coach” honors the many dedicated people who have taught children how to ski at Dewey, at both the high school and youth level. Their leadership has inspired two model programs and a lifelong love of skiing in thousands of kids.
Finally, “Peanuts” honors the people who have run Dewey. Day and night, they do the hard work of grooming trail and keeping the lights on and the kids warm—for peanuts. Jason Smith and Steve Doxzon, of Adirondack Lakes & Trails Outfitters, were recognized for accomplishing much in their seven years as the town’s winter operations contractor.
A dozen volunteers helped move signs onto trails. The volunteers were thanked for their role in keeping Dewey’s programs and facilities vital.
Dewey Mountain Recreation Center is on State Route 3, one mile west of downtown Saranac Lake. For more information see deweymountain.com.