Brattleboro I-91 Bridge Walk: A Bridge to Nature

 

On the afternoon of Saturday, March 4, 2017, hundreds of visitors, young and old, braved freezing temperatures to walk across a major interstate highway, before it opened to traffic. Visitors rode bright yellow school busses from the Brattleboro Union High School and were met at the south approach of the new Vermont I-91 Brattleboro bridge by representatives from the design-build team. After walking across the bridge, the buses drove visitors back to the high school. It was a wonderful opportunity to walk high above the West River Trail and the West River Valley, on a stretch of roadway, soon to be dominated by motor vehicles traveling at high speeds.

The design-build team of PCL Civil Constructors, Inc. and Figg Bridge Engineers, Inc. in conjunction with the Town of Brattleboro, invited the public to participate in the walk across the 1,036-foot, three-span segmental I-91 Brattleboro Bridge. During the walk, the community had a chance to take pictures, take in the view and ask questions about the bridge design and construction.

 

The West River Railroad

The West River Railroad is featured in the current (Winter 2016/2017) issue of Vermont Magazine. Ghost Train – a fond look back at the West River Railroad, written by Glenn Annis, with historic black and white photos from the author’s personal collection – is a wonderful glimpse of the history behind the current West River Trail.

A Southern Vermont Trail for All Seasons

West River TrailA letter from Friends of the West River Trail, Lower Section:

Dear users of the West River Trail,
The Trail has become an important feature in our local landscape and we hope you have had a chance to experience the trail for yourself recently. If so, you may have encountered other trail users walking, jogging, x-c skiing, snowshoeing, birding and biking, and you no doubt noticed improvements to several sections of the trail. During June and July, volunteers completed essential maintenance tasks of replacing damaged culverts, moving fallen rocks and leveling trail surface to control erosion, cover roots, and fill in holes. New this summer in the Riverstone Preserve is the installation of a beautiful picnic table hand-crafted from locally harvested white oak. Looking ahead, we’d like to embark on professional removal and suppression of invasive species that – despite on-going volunteer efforts to combat them – have taken hold and threaten the rich biodiversity along the trail. Please consider making a donation to help support the effort to maintain and improve the trail for all users.

To make a secure donation, click on the DONATE link or click on the tab above to go to the West River Trail DONATE PAGE. Checks may be mailed to Friends of the West River Trail, Lower Section, 138 Elliot Street, Suite 3, Brattleboro, VT 05301.Please help our community enjoy the trail for seasons to come by making a donation. Thank you!

Friends of the West River Trail is a registered 501 (3) (c) organization.

Please feel free to contact us via this website, by clicking on the CONTACT tab above.

Friends of the West River Trail Steering Committee: Lester Humphreys, Chair, Jason Cooper, Matt Mann, Malcolm Moore, Kathleen White & Alex Wilson

Friends of the West River Trail Fundraising Committee: Judy Davidson, Chair, Martin Langeveld, Brett Morrison, Orly Munzing, Marcia Steckler & Tom Yahn

American Painter Milton Avery and the West River

Milton Avery (1885–1965), Blue Trees, 1945. Oil on canvas, 28 × 36 inches. Neuberger Museum of Art, Gift of Roy R. Neuberger, Purchase College, State University of New York. © 2016 The Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Milton Avery (1885–1965), Blue Trees, 1945. Oil on canvas, 28 × 36 inches. Neuberger Museum of Art, Gift of Roy R. Neuberger, Purchase College, State University of New York. © 2016 The Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

This is the last weekend to catch the Milton Avery exhibit at the Bennington Museum.The exhibition brings together dozens of the paintings, watercolors, and drawings Avery made on family visits to the West River Valley region of Vermont between 1935 and 1943. Read more at – https://www.incollect.com/articles/green-mountain-idylls-milton-avery-s-vermont.

Excerpt from article:
A humorous anecdote related by Sally Avery about her husband’s painting Blue Trees provides insight into the tension in Avery’s works between their formal qualities, their emotive power, and their dependence on subjects drawn from the real world. She related how a business tycoon, wanting to buy a painting, made a studio visit; nothing pleased him. Looking at one landscape, he exclaimed, “That tree is blue—I never saw a blue tree in Vermont.” To which Avery replied, “This was New Hampshire.” In fact, the painting, which the tycoon acquired, was based on studies executed in Jamaica, Vermont, looking south into the West River Valley from the slopes of Ball Mountain, into the area that is now largely occupied by Jamaica State Park. https://www.incollect.com/articles/green-mountain-idylls-milton-avery-s-vermont.

Photo credit: Milton Avery (1885–1965), Blue Trees, 1945. Oil on canvas, 28 × 36 inches. Neuberger Museum of Art, Gift of Roy R. Neuberger, Purchase College, State University of New York. © 2016 The Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

The West River Trail in Autumn

The West River Trail is open and looking gorgeous in its autumn finery!

When passing through the bridge construction area, follow signs and take extra care at intersections between trail and construction work. As an additional safety precaution, please keep pets on a leash.

Trail Talks
The next trail talk will be held November 5th. Interested participants should meet the PCL+FIGG Team at the West River Trail trailhead at 8 am and the talk will begin at 8:15 am. For more Information about the bridge project, please contact Bonnie Clark, Public Relations Officer, at bclark@pcl.com.

I-91 Bridge Construction Trail Talk Saturday August 13th

artist rendering of new bridge (photo courtesy FIGG)

Curious about the new I-91 bridge? The next trail talk will be held Saturday, August 13th. Interested participants should meet the PCL+FIGG Team at the West River Trail trailhead at 8 am and the talk will begin at 8:15 am.

The West River Trail is open during bridge construction activity. There are intersections between construction access and the trail path, and users should exercise extreme caution at these intersections. As an additional safety precaution, users of the West River Trail are reminded to keep pets on a leash in this area. Please use caution while passing through the scaffolding protection system. The system restricts the overhead clearance to 8 feet.

If you would like additional information, or would like to receive bridge construction updates via email, please contact Bonnie Clark, Public Relations Officer, at bclark@pcl.com.

Enjoy the trail!

Successful Trail Workday + New Picnic Table

New Picnic Table on the Riverstone Preserve

Thanks to Jim Webster’s carpentry talents, there is now a picnic table on the Riverstone Preserve for all to use.  It’s made of white oak and very pretty! Thank you Jim!

When heading north on the WRT, once you are on the preserve take the 1st trail. It leads to the water’s edge.  As you get close to the shore, you will find the picnic table on a little rise to the right of the trail.  Bring a picnic or just sit a spell.  Let us know if you used it and how you like it!

Drainage Work Accomplished

Eight enthusiastic souls showed up for trail work at the Fox Farm Road Trail Access at 9 am Saturday July 23.  John, a new volunteer who lives right in the neighborhood showed up with his Kubuto excavator, which was invaluable.  Jenny, a hard worker from West Brattleboro, was also a new volunteer.  Thanks to both of them!  Paul, Lester, Jeff, Kathleen and Jim, veteran volunteers, also showed up, led by our intrepid trail work leader, Jason.  The excavator helped us dig better drainage ditches in several areas that tend to overflow.  A new 6″ plastic culvert was placed where an old rusty one was removed, and one culvert was extended with new pipe.  We trust that when we finally get rain, trail users will see these sections of the trail stay dry or drier.  Unfortunately, none of us remembered to take photos of the excavator and it’s driver, or the rest of the work crew and the work that was done.  Sorry about that!!!

Thank you to everyone who worked that day to improve the trail for all users!