By CRISTINE MEIXNER
SPECULATOR -- Snowmobiles will be allowed on the sidewalks here this winter, but not encouraged.
A new trail will be in place to travel from the ball field, the primary parking area for snowmobilers, to Mountain Market on State Route 30, the only gas station in town, as well as Logan's Bar and Grill and Village Rentals & Sales on Rt. 8. It will also allow snowmobilers to access Trail LP4 from behind Sparkle Laundry Mat instead of by The River Trail, which is prone to flooding.
The new trail will start across Rt. 30 from the ball field snowmobile crossing. It will go north in the "greenway" on the west side of Rt. 30, through The Lemon Tree property into woods and thence to Marion Drive.
That southern section is in place. The exact route from Marion Dr. to Rt. 8 is still uncertain, but there will be a temporary trail there this winter. The ultimate goal is for the northern part of the new trail, from Marion Dr. to Rt. 8, to be on Rick Swift's Village Rentals property. However, that will require a survey to avoid infringing on other private properties, as the southern part of Swift's parcel is only 15 feet wide where it abuts Steve Temple's land; and many trees would have to be cut and their roots grubbed out.
It is too much work to complete before snowmobiling starts this year.
When the ad hoc Snowmobile Trail Committee met Saturday, Dec. 7, it was made clear it would like the temporary trail for this winter to be on property at 2880 Rt. 8, just west of Village Rentals, which runs almost all the way back to Marion Dr. There is an old roadway on it that could be accessed over the former Maryann Ryan property, Swift said. However, there is a problem. "We don't even know who owns it; it is held by a realty firm," Lake Pleasant Supervisor Neil McGovern said.
Members of the committee haven't given up on this alternative, but have a plan B just in case, for this year only.
THE LIKELY ROUTE
The most likely route for this winter would have snowmobilers crossing over the Ryan property from Marion Dr. and traveling north behind Speculator Spirits and the former Yarn Barn, across Steve Temple's yard and behind Joe Russotto's, Mountain Stained Glass, David and Judy Nelson's, Brian Bledsoe's and Janet O'Connell's homes.
From there they could go left to Logan's and Village Rentals or right past Lakeside Licks and across Rt. 30 to Mountain Market.
Committee members stressed this would be for this winter only and their preferred, long-term trail over Swift's land would be ready for next winter.
"We are committed to getting it as far away from the houses as we can as soon as we can, certainly by next year," Swift said.
The Village of Speculator is eager to get snowmobiles off its sidewalks, while Pleasant Riders snowmobile club and D.R.A.G. of Speculator Inc., a snowmobile trail grooming club, want to get snowmobiles away from the River Trail.
The committee's primary focus is getting from the ball field to Mountain Market, where snowmobilers can gas up their sleds, without using the sidewalks.