The city of Fulton may soon reopen its only snowmobile trail.
A spur trail that runs along Route 3 as it enters from the west and ends at Lake Neatahwanta has been closed for several years. “You don’t want people in the parks at 10 p.m. raising hell, tearing up the fields,” Mayor Ron Woodward explained about the thinking at the time.
But the trail will reopen next week for three days to accommodate The Great Eastern Whiteout, a weekend-long event featuring antique snowmobile displays, a fun run to Lysander and snowmobile races on the lake.
The Fulton Common Council this week approved plans to reopen the trail within the city for the weekend of the event.
But Woodward said the city is considering reopening the trail permanently. He said snowmobile clubs have approached the city to ask that the trail be reopened.
“This doesn’t allow them to run all over the city,” he said. “Just on the trail on Route 3.”
He said the Council is discussing keeping the trail open as a way to help the city take advantage of the economic impact of the activity, which is a half-billion dollar business statewide. There are at least 10 snowmobile clubs active in the county. They work to maintain the more than 340 miles of trails in the county.
Snowmobiling into the city might provide a small boost for a few businesses along the Route 3 trail spur.
However, Woodward said the city probably will not be able to find a way to let snowmobilers cross the city, so that other restaurants and retailers might see some benefit as well. The problem, he said, is the Oswego River, which cuts the city in half.
Snowmobilers seeking to cross the city would have to drive on one of the city’s two bridges and into heavy traffic. “There’s 22 thousand cars a day on Route 481,” he said.
Snowmobilers seeking to cross the county detour south of the city to the Hinmansville bridge along the C4 trail, which then connects with the more complex network of trails in the eastern half of the county.