Primitive Snowshoe Biathlon

March is boring!  If you’re suffering from cabin fever and are up for a challenge, come and match your black powder shooting and snowshoeing skills against some of the toughest competitors in the North East – or – take it a little slower as a woods walk.   Those hardy souls participating in the Snowshoe Biathlon will run a one and a half mile course, stopping at each of 5 stations and firing 2 shots; at the 6th and final station, there’s an optional tomahawk throw.   Runners or woods walkers using a traditional muzzleloader will complete the course on traditional wood-framed snowshoes.  A modern class will be open to shooters using in-line muzzleloaders and modern snowshoes.  All shooters must use firearms with open sights.


Sponsored By:  The Fort La Présentation Association (www.fort1749) and Forsyth’s Rifles (

When:  Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8, 2015 from 10:00 AM – 2:00PM.

Where: St. Lawrence Valley Sportsman’s Club, 25 Sportsman’s Club Rd., Lisbon, NY

To Benefit:     The construction of a waterfront, recreation trail on Lighthouse Point, Ogdensburg, NY.

2015 St. Lawrence Valley Primitive Snowshoe Biathlon Rules
Classes: Traditional Muzzleloaders (smoothbore muskets and flintlock or cap lock rifles) and In-Line Muzzleloaders
Divisions: Youth (under 18), Woman’s, Men’s, Senior (over 65)
1. Firearms will not be allowed in the clubhouse.

2. Participants must wear the appropriate style snowshoes for their race class.

3. Participants must follow the designated trail.

4. Participants younger than 16 years of age will be required to run the course with a parent or responsible adult.

5. All participants must use open sights; traditional shooters must use a patched round ball.

6. Participants may not carry loaded firearms on the course.

7. Firearms must be loaded at each firing station in the presence of the race official.

8. At each firing station, participants will load 2 shots from the bag.

9. The axe throw is optional.

10. Participants not using safe firearm handling practices or rules for the event will be disqualified and asked to leave the club property.

11. The use of alcohol or illegal substances during the race is prohibited. Participants suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances will not be allowed to participate.

12. All shooting will be from a standing position (off hand) unaided by shooting sticks, slings or other external aids. No speed loaders will be allowed, all loading will be from the bag.

13. The race officials ruling on questions regarding the rules are final.





The Battle of Ogdensburg strikes again

OGDENSBURG — The gut-wrenching crack of a cannon’s fire brought the battlefield at Lighthouse Point back to its former glory Sunday afternoon as British and American troops marched to war.

The Battle of Ogdensburg, Feb. 22, 1813, was brought to life on its original date by re-enactors from both sides of the border taking part in the realistic fight.

“This is on much of the same ground that the battle occurred back in 1813,” said Timothy W. Cryderman, event coordinator. “As far as we can tell, it was on a day much like this one: cold and frozen all the way across the river, from where the British troops came.”

His battlefield attire, a wool great coat and gold-buttoned Navy uniform, reflected that of an American soldier under the command of Capt. Benjamin Forsyth.

“This was where a small band of American rifleman could prevent shipping into the Great Lakes,” said James E. Reagen, the event’s narrator representing the American side.

He was accompanied by his Canadian counterpart, Michael P. Whittaker of Ontario.

Both announcers said locals on both sides of the border did not support the war on trade.

“People were neighbors here across the river,” Mr. Whittaker said. “They didn’t want a war that would prevent trade.”

At that time, there were 7,885 people living in St. Lawrence County and 1,245 residing in the Ogdensburg area. Today there are 111,963 in the county and 11,011 in the city, according to a 2013 study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

“We were enlisted to help prevent trade smuggling back and across the border,” said Frederick J. Hanss, director of planning for the village of Potsdam.

A member of the Forsyth’s Rifles re-enactment group, he brought along his 17-year-old son, Lucas F., to participate.

“Most of the trade in St. Lawrence County at that time was coming from Montreal in Quebec,” Mr. Hanss said, citing major trade items such as cattle, poultry, eggs, burnt tree ash used for soap and other consumer commodities.

“If you were going to travel for trade, this was the time to come because everything was frozen,” he said explaining that natural barriers such as rivers and lakes restricted travel during the warmer months.

In 1813 it took nearly 28 days to travel from Ogdensburg to Albany. The Parrish Store in Ogdensburg, built in 1809, was one of the largest commercial establishments along the Great Lakes Basin of the St. Lawrence Valley. The former trade center now serves as U.S. Customs and Border Protection Services, 127 N. Water St.

Actor Steven D. Ball, 62, of Shanty Bay, Ont., served in the battle in the British light infantry. He drove five hours to take part in the weekend festivities.

He said he considers the War of 1812, of which the Battle of Ogdensburg was a part, to be an important factor in the Canadian struggle for independence.

He said the war marked a decisive turning point in his country’s battle to govern itself and initiated trade patterns that would strengthen ties between the United States and Canada.

Philip L. Paige, 21, of Madrid also took part in the re-enactment for the first time, on the American side. He fired his black gunpowder loader musket in battle only 15 minutes after learning how to use it.

“I had no idea what the battle was going to consist of,” said Mr. Paige, a senior at SUNY Potsdam studying history and politics.

He said that on Saturday when the event began, he was expecting it to be in a rural landscape. However, when he arrived, he was given a much different scenario: that he’d be firing his gun in the streets of Ogdensburg.

“It forced you to put yourself in the shoes of a person in battle,” the Madrid-Waddington Central School graduate said. “You can’t help but to admire their courage.”

“You can see the faces of the persons shooting at you,” he said. “That’s just unimaginable to me.”

The one-day battle was staged over the course of two days to better illustrate the two-part division between infantry groups, one fighting at Rensselaer Point (Lighthouse Point) and another, larger group battling the British in the streets of Ogdensburg.

The battle was largely unsuccessful as Capt. Forsyth’s infantry was forced to retreat to Sackets Harbor.

In addition, neither country was able to claim occupancy of the city until the end of the war on Dec. 24, 1814, with the signing of Treaty of Ghent.

Source:  Ogdensburg Journal


$40,000 grant to help develop Ogdensburg's Lighthouse Point park, trail

OGDENSBURG -- A $40,000 St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency grant will help Ogdensburg’s fort association establish a waterfront park and trail system at Lighthouse Point.

Fort La Presentation will use the grant as leverage funding for design and construction of a trail network, a visitor and educational meeting space, interpretive signage, site restoration work, landscaping, development of porous surface parking area, and strong links to the City of Ogdensburg’s Maple City Trail system.

If successful, the park will be used for events, historic reenactments, fieldtrips, and recreation. It will also result in a waterfront trail network that offers scenic views of the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie Rivers for Ogdensburg’s residents and visitors.

Lining the trail network will be a series of interpretive signs that illustrate the site’s history, including its Native American roots, both Fort La Presentation and Oswegatchie (both played key roles in the French & Indian War, American Resolution, and War of 1812), as well as its historic industrial uses.

The trail would also link with the City of Ogdensburg’s popular Maple City Trail, establishing a recreational experience and downtown access to the waterfront. The city included the project in its Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) and Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) as a strategic action to improve the local and regional economy.

The $40,000 comes from the River Agency’s community development fund. The money will be used as leverage for the $470,000 project. The lion’s share of that project will be paid for with a $350,000 grant from the state’s park and recreation office.

Source:  North Country Now