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Winter hike scheduled by CATS for December 15

—  Champlain Area Trails will host a “Welcome to Winter Hike” at the new Hidden Quarry Trail on Saturday, Dec. 15, at 1 p.m. and announce the winners of the travel-writing contest and the raffle.

Hikers should meet at the former Mormon Church parking lot, located 4.8 miles north of the downtown Port Henry on the east side of NYS Route 22/9N. For more details, call 962-2287, go to www.champlainareatrails.com or email champlaintrails@gmail.com.

“The trails are for year-round use,” said Chris Maron, executive director of CATS, “and we want people to know they are excellent for skiing and snowshoeing.”

In a brief program before the hike, CATS will announce the winners of its recent travel-writing contest.

“We’re pleased to present the $500 first place prize selected by the contest judge, local author Diane Chase, and the $250 People’s Choice Prize who received the most online votes,” said Gretel Schueller, the contest coordinator. “The contest spawned a great variety of strong stories which can be viewed at the Champlain Area Trails website.”

“We will also announce the winner of the raffle of Bill Amadon’s painting of the view from the Bobcat Trail,” said Maron. “After that, the hike will begin; this will be a nice introduction to the newest trail in the community.”

The Hidden Quarry Trail features rock outcrops, a forest, and the quarry, where rocks were mined to create the base layer of Route 22. Now, it is a shallow pond below cliffs where they took out the rocks.

“This is one of the area’s easiest and shortest trails,” said Maron, “so everyone is welcome to join us for the half-hour hike. We’ll go on level land in forest, fields, and by the quarry.”

“We thank Jim Carlisle, who owns the property, for contacting us and arranging to have the trail,” said Katharine Preston, the CATS board chair. “Because most land in the Champlain Valley is privately owned, CATS commonly works with landowners to create and maintain trails. This helps accomplish our mission of making trails that link communities, connect people with nature, and promote economic vitality.”

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