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90-Miler alternatives are ruled out

The first wave of paddlers sets out from Fish Creek campground on in September 2019 for the final day of the Adirondack Canoe Classic, also known as the 90-Miler. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

SARANAC LAKE — When it was announced in June that this year’s Adirondack Canoe Classic had been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, race organizers Brian and Grace McDonnell left the door open for possible alternative events if conditions improved. That door is now officially closed.

That’s according to the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, which would have helped the McDonnells’ Adirondack Watershed Alliance run this year’s “90-Miler,” originally scheduled for Sept. 11-13 from Old Forge to Saranac Lake.

“With a clearer picture of what lies ahead, AWA and NFCT have decided against holding scaled down races or activities,” NFCT announced in a newsletter Thursday. “This is a difficult decision, but the right one to make in the interest of public health and safety. We hope to see you at next year’s race.”

The NFCT is in the process of buying the Adirondack Canoe Classic and other events from the McDonnells. The plan was for the McDonnells to manage this year’s events, with NFCT assisting, and then for the McDonnells to assist NFCT after it fundraises for the $90,000 purchase price and acquires all aspects of AWA, which is planned for 2021.

The McDonnells, who live in Paul Smiths, have managed AWA for more than two decades. In addition to the 90-Miler, they run the ‘Round the Mountain Canoe and Kayak Race in Saranac Lake, the Celebrate Paddling Invitational in Saranac Lake and the Long Lake Long Boat Regatta, all of which have been called off for this year, too.

The NFCT maintains and promotes the 740-mile water trail that runs from Old Forge to Fort Kent, Maine.

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