The Rutland Trail is a multi-use trail extending for 21.2 miles from Norwood, NY to Moira, NY. Click on the map to view the trail on a Google Maps mashup.

The trail starts from Railroad Ave in Norwood, (proceed eastward along the south side of the Conrail tracks), and is contiguous to Winthrop, where the bridge was removed. In Winthrop you have to cross the St. Regis river on a highway bridge and skirt a half mile of railbed that dead-ends at the bridge. The trail is ridable from there into the village of North Lawrence, where the bridge was removed. Beyond that is another one mile section which is posted by North Country Dairy (formerly Breyer Yogurt, CoolBrands and before that Kraft Foods). Beyond that section the trail is ridable to Moira.

As you can see from the photograph (more photos), the trail is beautiful. Except for one very muddy mile, most of the trail looks like this. There are only 13 road intersections, and no development along the trail. As far as you're concerned, when you're on the trail, you're in the middle of wilderness. Deer, raccoons, ducks, snakes, and turtles are comfortable using the trail.

Ownership

The trail is owned by Common Field, Inc. (a nonprofit) from Norwood through to the Norwood/Knapps-Station Road. From there through most of the Town of Stockholm, it is owned by the Town of Stockholm. The last mile into Winthrop is privately owned by a Nicholas somebody-or-other (his posted sign is barely readable).

The portion of the trail from the east side of the St. Regis River in Winthrop to Barnage Road is unusable because the bridge is out. From Barnage to Hallahan Roads, the property is marked as a Nature Trail by Harry Dow, Fred Groebler, Ivan Lalonde, Mike Buckley, and Patrick Kilcoyne. This includes the section that was formerly closed east of Barnage Road. Hooray for these guys!

The Town of Lawrence owns the next section of the trail from Hallahan Road into the hamlet of North Lawrence. The trail stops at the edge of a grassy field which seems to have always been a grassy field, even a hundred years ago. The bridge has been removed.

The portion of the trail owned by North Lawrence Dairy is closed. The closure extends from the east side of the river in North Lawrence to Cemetery Road. They had opened the trail for a while after purchasing the plant from Coolbrands, but closed it out of concern for the integrity of their Ecovation water treatment lagoons here. On the east end, there is a fence topped with barbed wire and posted.

The Town of Lawrence owns from Cemetery Road east to the St. Lawrence / Franklin County line. Continuing eastward to Moira is a section owned by Watson Manning Jr. The railbed has been extinguished as a separate piece of property through Moira. Heading out the eastern side of Moira is a section owned by Roger Hughs.

Thanks to all property owners who allow people to traverse their property! Respect adjoining property owners' rights and stay on the trail.

Trail improvements

Some time between June 12th and August 13th of 2005, the Youth Bureau cleared brush from a .71 mile stretch of the trail in the Skinnerville area

09-Apr-2006: a work party of one drained the puddle here and cleared the drainage ditch to drain another puddle..

11-Apr-2006: Drained this puddle. The whole section westward from here has bad drainage and many long-lasting puddles. Upon inspection, the drainage ditches are blocked by old farm crossings. They must go.

29-May-2006: Most of the puddles have been drained as well as they will ever be. Time to get some money together and buy some fill. The wet spots get soft, and the wheels of the ATVs carry material out of the hole, making a bigger hole. Once the hole gets below the level of the drainage ditch, you can never empty it.

21-Apr-2007: I suggested that Nils Peterson and the Community Service Brigade from the Youth Bureau clean out the drainage ditch at the 09-Apr-2006 location. They did fantastic work. I extended their work even deeper, but, really, the drainage ditch on the other side also needs reconstruction. Otherwise the water will continue to flow down the middle of the trail. Also partly dug out a transmission-buster rock, but will need to come back with a come-along and chain. Also closed an ATV go-around of this puddle and mostly drained it.

24-Apr-2007: Come-along and chain successfully moved the transmission-buster off to the side of the trail. Also partly dug out the ditch on the other side.

5-May-2007: working on the eastern end of Christopher Muka's portion of the trail, with his permission. Moved three rocks out of the way. Reconstructed the drainage ditch. Cut brush.

10-May-2007: Found a set of keys. Describe to claim. Call 315-265-5655.

Summer 2007, the Town of Stockholm fills in the puddles west of Skinnerville Road and East of Munson Road. They also put in culverts and fill on both sides of Skinnerville Road.

Summer 2007: "They" (which I believe includes the landowners of the Nature Trail at the Town of Stockholm) also reconstructed two bridges, one over Trout Brook, and the other over Allen Brook

Fall 2007, the Tri-Town ATV Riders, in conjunction with the landowner, reconstructed the bridges over Trout and Allen Brooks, east of Finnegan Road. The old railroad bridges (with steel and bridge beams) were still in place, but the bridge beams were rotting and were supplanted with ties. They've been replaced by steel decking.

Between 4/25/2008 and 5/11/2008, somebody (Town of Stockholm?) was in with a loader East of Old Market Road, filling one puddle, working on the drainage, and pulling out rocks. During the same timespan, the Cook Road intersection was also mostly filled. Needs more fill, plus there are three or four more puddles west of there that also desperately need filling.

Organization

The Tri-Town ATV Club has been maintaining several bridges.

History

The Rutland Trail is just a portion of the remains of the Rutland Railroad Northern Division. Originally, the railroad extended across the entire top of New York State, from Ogdensburg in the west to Rouses Point in the east.

George Cameron, a former brakeman on the Rutland, writes in with his reminisces. George remembers working with Steve Mumley's father, "a clean cut, neat, good looking and highly regarded young guy who was considered to be a top notch brakeman."

James R. Jones has produced a DVD entitled "Rutland Remnants, Vol. 1: Ogdensburg to Lake Champlain". Relive the fabled Rutland's Ogdensburg Subdivision in digital splendor. Experience New York & Ogdensburg Railroad's shortline operations over the last surviving 25 miles, classic images from the past, and reminders of yesteryear from every stop on the 118 mile line. You've never seen the Rutland like this!

In memoriam

On February 12th of 2005, Michael Summers, 49, of Norfolk, was thrown from his snowmobile when the sled hit exposed roots on the Rutland Trail. Rest in Peace, Michael. His trailside memorial:

Links

An awesome resource for the Rutland Railroad, although not at all for the Rutland Northern Division, is the Francis Poulin photos. In the early 1960's, after abandonment, and before the rails were pulled, he walked the length of the Rutland system i n Vermont, taking photographs as he went. Righteous, dude!

The Rutland Railroad originally extended from Rutland VT through Ogdensburg. Part of the route went through the Champlain Islands and Burlington. A portion of the railbed has been converted to a rail-trail, called The Island Line.

The Rutland Railroad Historical Society is a non-profit historical and educational organization dedicated to the preservation of the memory of the Rutland Railroad.

The Rutland Railway Association maintains the Center Rutland Depot museum, and maintains a historical library. They are located in Center Rutland, VT.

Vermont Rail System operates the New York & Ogdensburg Railway, which is the sole remnant of the Northern Division still in rails.

Rutland County, England, has a Rutland Heritage Trail.


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