Restoring the Rivergate Trestle

Spring 2017 Newsletter - Since its dedication to former executive director Louise “Sissy” Danforth in 2011, TILT’s Rivergate Trail has provided exceptional inland recreation opportunities to the residents and visitors of the Thousand Islands region. Following over 25 miles of the old New York Central Railroad right-of-way, the Sissy Danforth Rivergate Trail has hosted hikers, bikers, skiers, nature photographers, ATV clubs and snowmobile riders.

Communities along the St. Lawrence River have long wanted to connect the beautiful river waterfront with the rural countryside by way of this existing “Rails-to-Trails” project. In December of ‘16, the Thousand Islands Land Trust was awarded an Environmental Protection Fund grant to bring this idea to action.

The Parks, Preservation & Heritage grant will award $41,750 to TILT for the planning for a significant upgrade to and extension of the Sissy Danforth Rivergate Trail between Clayton and LaFargeville.  The funding will allow TILT to obtain the topographic surveys, structural evaluations and conceptual drawings for a greatly improved multi-use trail that connects the Clayton Riverwalk to the rural countryside of LaFargeville, passing expansive wetlands, grasslands, and forests along the way.

The Clayton Riverwalk has become popular with residents, tourists and event attendees. It attracts people to the Village business district’s multitude of arts, culture, historical heritage, and recreational opportunities. TILT seeks to build upon and strengthen this popularity by merging the Riverwalk with a unique year-round outdoor recreational amenity that would augment tourism and other attractions in the Thousand Islands region.

The EPF grant also provides funding to develop plans to enhance the 160 foot long historic railroad trestle bridge that spans McCarn Creek on TILT’s 143-acre S. Gerald Ingerson Preserve just outside of the Village of Clayton.  Trail users will experience breathtaking views of the surrounding forests, as well as the creek bed that lies more than 60 feet below.

The development of this upgraded trail is a long-term, multi-phase project. Planning is expected to be completed by spring of 2018. Construction will be contingent upon funding, and the conceptual plans and surveys acquired through this grant. 

Related Preserve(s):

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