Thousand Islands Land Trust initiates fundraising campaign to revive historic railroad bridge


McCarn Creek trestle bridge in the Town of Clayton (photo: Thousand Islands Land Trust)

CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — After sitting for half-a-century, a new conservation partnership in the North Country will work to revive a historic railroad bridge.

The Thousand Island Land Trust announced Monday that it has received a grant from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program, and launched a community fundraising campaign to restore the McCarn Creek trestle bridge in the Town of Clayton.

The bridge is currently closed off to the public due to safety concerns, but if fixed, would connect the Sissy Danforth Rivergate Trail between LaFargeville and Clayton, New York. The bridge is 160 feet long and stands 60 feet above the ground and currently hikers are required to walk under it while on the Rivergate Trail, through water.

“We’re incredibly fortunate to operate in a state that recognizes the real values that land trusts, public open spaces, and outdoor recreational opportunities offer to our communities. The Conservation Partnership Program’s funding toward the McCarn Creek trestle bridge is a prime example of this recognition,” said TILT Assistant Director Spencer Busler. “The COVID pandemic has made us all aware of just how important outdoor recreation is.”

Aerial View of the Rivergate Trail trestle bridge (photo: Thousand Islands Land Trus)

Through the New York State Conservation Partnership, TILT was awarded $50,000 to fund the revitalization project.

However, the Land Trust shared that it is also seeking additional financial commitments to help with the bridge and trail renovations as NYSCPP funding will cover approximately a third of total costs.

“We’ve had a tremendously positive response from the Thousand Islands community, but we still have a funding shortage and we need your help!” said Project Proponent Dan Throop. “Please consider contributing so that our children and our children’s children have this incredible amenity to enjoy.”

TILT confirmed that it hopes to reach its fundraising goal by June 2021 to allow construction to be completed by the end of the summer.

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