Local groups win Park and Trail grants

Azure Mountain Friends has been awarded $13,500 from the state to stabilize erosion on the mountain’s summit.

The work will be performed between the fire tower and the open cliffs to the southeast on Azure Mountain, which is located at the western edge of Franklin County, in the town of Waverly, not far from its hamlet of Santa Clara.

The project, according to a press release from the governor’s office, will make the trail safer for hikers, reduce the damage to summit vegetation and reestablish a more natural summit environment.

John Brown Lives

Also receiving funds from the Park and Trail Partnership Program is John Brown Lives in the town of North Elba.

That organization will use the $31,200 grand to enhance and augment the visitor experience at the John Brown Farm State Historic Site outside Lake Placid, including a children’s corner, special themed tours, an audio installation for the “Dreaming of Timbuctoo” exhibit, Friends Group kiosk and special community-building events.

Park and Trail grants are administered by the state Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation as well as Parks and Trails New York, a statewide nonprofit group.

The funding awarded to Azure Mountain Friends and John Brown Lives is part of $450,000 going to 22 organizations dedicated to the stewardship and promotion of New York state parks, historic sites and public lands, a press release from the governor’s office said..

“These dedicated groups raise private funds for capital projects, perform maintenance tasks, provide educational programming and promote public use of parks through hosting special events.”

Saved fire tower

The Azure Mountain Friends organized in December 2001 after learning the state Department of Environmental Conservation intended to remove the fire tower from the mountain’s summit, according to the group’s website.

“Not wanting this significant local landmark to be lost, a committee of volunteers joined together and signed an Adopt-A-Natural-Resource Agreement with the DEC,” the site says.

That allowed the group to serve as the “steward” for Azure Mountain.

At first, the Azure Mountain Friends operated under the auspices of the Adirondack Architectural Heritage, but in August 2006 it became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

“In all seasons of the year,” the website says, “AMF members enjoy the views and the breezes, the trail work, volunteering as summit stewards, the blueberries, the companionship and the solitude, the snowshoeing and the rain showers, but most especially the commitment to maintain and protect the Azure Mountain fire tower and its environment.”

Learn more at http://azuremountain.org.