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YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: Improvements planned for Old Orchard Trail

August 15, 2014
By MATTHEW TURNER , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - A trailhead on Bear Cub Lane is in the early stages of getting a major face-lift.

Plans are in the works to improve a trail owned by the Henry II and Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation by adding a parking lot, a pavilion and other amenities like benches. The trail was named Old Orchard Trail. It's an existing loop trail, which is about a 1.2-mile hike.

Uihlein Foundation board member James McKenna said the trail will not be available to the public yet.

Article Photos

The Henry II and Mildred A. Uihlein Foundation has proposed to build a parking lot and pavilion at this trailhead on Bear Cub Lane for the 1.2-mile Old Orchard Trail.
(News photo — Matthew Turner)

"We're not totally finalized on the actual layout," McKenna said. "That will happen over the next year or so, but we are confident the use of that trail will be an unmatched short hike in this region."

The proposed parking lot will be shaped in a loop and be 150 feet in diameter. It will fit approximately 12 cars and a bus. There will be one shared driveway for entering and exiting the parking lot. The Uihlein Foundation plans to shield the parking lot from view by planting several conifer trees.

The parking lot area will connect to the Old Orchard Trail by a quarter mile existing trail through the woods.

An open-sided pavilion will be built there. It's planned to be used for sheltering hikers and as a outdoor classroom that could fit about 25 people.

A few benches will be placed along the trail, and directional signs are planned. The signs will look similar to the Uihlein Foundation's Henry's Woods trails.

There are still about 100 apple trees in the former farm land at Old Orchard Trail. The field will be mowed regularly once the trail is in use.

The Uihlein Foundation had its site plans for Old Orchard Trail approved recently by members of the Lake Placid-North Elba Review Board.

This would be the second time the Uihlein Foundation made major improvements to a trail system in North Elba.

"It was very important to Henry Uihlein that the lands on Heaven Hill Farm weren't commercialized and developed," McKenna said. "People feel ownership, and that's exactly what we wanted to create."

In 2008, Uihlein Foundation's Henry's Woods opened to the public. The 4.5-mile trail system is also on Bear Cub Lane on Uihlein community preserve, and it took three years to complete the project.

McKenna said the Uihlein Foundation owns about 1,000 acres of property on Bear Cub Lane, about 212 acres of which are part of the Henry's Woods trail system. Henry's Woods is used for recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

McKenna said about 60,000 people use Henry's Wood's a year.

"We know that Henry's Woods has seen greater success than we've even anticipated," he said.

Once completed, Old Orchard Trail will serve a similar purpose and be open to the general public.

The trail can also connect to an existing system of wood roads and foot trails on the property, but that's not being contemplated at this point, according to documents submitted to the Lake Placid-North Elba Review Board.



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