Bad news For Thurman Connection

THURMAN — If snow ever falls, southbound snowmobilers are going to have to trailer their machines to Warren County’s trail network.

The Thurman Connection snowmobile club thought it had found a way around being barred from the county-owned railroad tracks, which will be used throughout the winter by the Saratoga and North Creek Railway.

The Town Board last month relented and voted to allow the club access to about a half-mile of Bowen Hill Road and River Road, after repeatedly panning the request because of safety concerns.

But that no longer matters as club officials announced on Tuesday night that several property owners who’d previously agreed to allow trails on their land have since backed out of the deal.

The change meant the trail system would not be complete unless Thurman permitted the club even more widespread access to its road network.

The Town Board, faced with the decision, rescinded its earlier resolution on Tuesday, essentially creating a gaping hole in the club’s trail network for the 2012 season.

“It’s done for just this year at this point,” Supervisor Evelyn Wood said on Wednesday.

Thurman Connection is one of the three clubs that maintains Warren County’s growing trail network.

Recent years have seen a push to expand snowmobile access in Warren County and link it with high-traffic trail systems from Vermont to the east and Hamilton County to the northwest.

The local network’s link with Speculator-area trails, and the popular ones surrounding Old Forge, is essentially severed without the Thurman trail system.

“People can still come to Thurman, unload and ride to Speculator from here,” said club President Doug Needham “There just won’t be any through traffic.”

Needham said that several local trails will be open, as will trails leading to the north and west.

Club officials are hopeful to find a solution to the loss of Warren County’s tracks before the 2013 season.

Snowmobile traffic drives the winter economy of much of the central Adirondacks.