Support the West River Trail

Dear Friend of the West River Trail:

As 2017 draws to a close, we invite you to include the Friends of the West River Trail (Lower Section) in your year-end giving.

As you may know, the Friends have faced some legal issues arising from property ownership questions along the trail. While the court has ruled in our favor, this matter has considerably depleted our financial resources and our ability to carry on the maintenance and development of the trail.

Your year-end gift will help us to continue our work on:
Repair and maintenance of the trail surface and drainage culverts (including repairs of washouts and sand intrusion resulting from this summer’s heavy rains)
Control of invasive species in the Riverstone Preserve
Protection of rare and endangered species along the trail
Extension of the trail to the downtown Brattleboro railroad station, and south from there to the old railroad bridge that connects to a large network of New Hampshire trails
Potential acquisition of additional land adjacent to the trail
Promotion of trail usage through distribution of maps as well as our website and Facebook page

If you have not visited the trail recently, please do! At the Marina trailhead, you’ll find a new information kiosk with trail map dispensers. Under the magnificent new I-91 bridge, the trail is fully restored and there is a beautiful platform for viewing the West River. Just south of the Riverstone Preserve is a stone stairway to the river’s edge, constructed by the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. The trail is seeing more and more usage, year-round, by hikers, runners, cyclists, skiers and snowshoers.

Again, please help the Friends with a generous donation to permit us to continue to protect, improve and extend the West River Trail.

To donate online (credit card or PayPal), please click here. Or, mail your gift to West River Trail (Lower Section), 138 Elliot St, Suite 3, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301.

With all best wishes,

FRIENDS OF THE WEST RIVER TRAIL Lower Section steering and fundraising committees: Lester Humphreys (chair), Kathleen White, Jason Cooper, Malcolm Moore, Alex Wilson, Matt Mann, Wendy Harrison, Judy Davidson, Orly Munzing, Brett Morrison, Marcia Steckler, Tom Yahn, Martin Langeveld

Productive Trail Work Day November 18!

Thank you to our work day volunteers! We so appreciate the work of Pat LaBelle, Risha Gordon, Bill Dixon and Orlando who joined members of the lower section steering committee–Jason Cooper, Malcolm Moore, Matt Mann, Wendy Harrison and Kathleen White. Thank you all!

Tasks accomplished: A post was set at the Rice Farm Rd trail head, grass and brush was trimmed along the overgrown section of trail under the power lines, drainage ditches were cleared of leaves and debris, a few fallen trees were sawed and removed from trail, and caution signs were placed at washout areas on the Fox Farm Road access trail.

After all the tasks were completed, our work day organizer, Jason Cooper found time for some fun and created this stump jump!

Jason Cooper also discovered evidence of beavers hard at work and Wendy Harrison found an “ice leaf” while working on the trail.

Boulder Work

Three intrepid West River Trail volunteers successfully moved a huge boulder about 2 feet to get it out of the trail, using only pry bars, brute strength and ingenuity! Hurray!

Our next workday is Saturday, November 18, 10 AM-2 PM, weather permitting. Click link for more details – West River Trail Workday.

Hope to see you on the trail!

Thanks to Malcolm Moore for the photos.

West River Trail Work Day Saturday, November 18, 10 AM-2 PM (weather permitting)

West River Trail, VermontWe will meet at the Marina trail head on Saturday Nov 18 at 9:45 and begin our walk in at 10 AM.  We will be working on clearing leaves from drainage ditches and culverts, clearing a few trees off the trail, putting up caution signs on the Fox Farm Road trail access road and whatever else we see that needs doing.

Wear your boots, work gloves and warm clothes; bring water and a snack, rakes and shovels.  We will have tools as well.  Stay for as long as you can.  Contact with questions or to RSVP.  We look forward to working with you on this beautiful trail!  Thank you in advance!  (Our sincere apologies to anyone who showed up on October 29.  We forgot to announce that we needed to cancel.  We’ll not let that happen again!)

Trail Work Day

wrt work day nov 2014 3Our sincere apologies to anyone who showed up on October 29.  We forgot to announce that we needed to cancel.  We’ll not let that happen again!

The new date is (weather permitting) Saturday Nov 18. We’ll meet at the Marina Trailhead at 9:45 and begin our walk in at 10 AM.  Contact with questions or to RSVP. More info on this post.


West River Trail Workday Report


WRT trail workday June 2017Huge thanks to the 5 volunteers who showed up to help repair the West River Trail.
Below is Jason Cooper’s report from the Trail Work Day.

We got an incredible amount done today!
Repaired erosion on the steeps of the I-91 bridge bypass.
Trimmed back brush and grass on the bypass.
Cleaned out and repaired many culverts from I-91 (mile 2) to just before mile 3.8.
Removed many downed trees.
Filled many holes in the trail.

The biggest surprise was the incredible washout on the Fox Farm Road access. It is as bad as it was after Hurricane Irene. This will take some structural redesign. There is also still some work to do between mile 3.8 and the foot bridge at mile 4.1, and a ditch at mile 2.8. Beyond the foot bridge there are several erosion cuts in the trail bed that will need fill trucked in.
WRT trail workday June 2017 - 2
Photos are on the Fox Farm Road trail access. Photos by Jason Cooper. The trail really needs your help! If you use the trail regularly, please consider lending a hand on the next workday or making a contribution to help maintain the trail. Email us at with any questions.


Rice Farm Road Trailhead

West River Trail Rice Farm Road AccessAs many trail users are aware, branches and stick barriers have been placed at the Rice Farm Road (RFR) trail head for some time now.  More recently, the words “No Trespassing” and “Private -Keep Out” were painted on the ground.  The area being contested is the RFR trail head, including a couple hundred feet south on the trail.  Friends of the West River Trail (FWRT) has deeds and surveys showing FWRT ownership of the trail for public use.  Furthermore, the public has been using this trail for decades and because of that​, has the continuing right to use the trail (this right is called a prescriptive easement).

​Recently FWRT brought an action in court to stop this obstruction. However, it will take several weeks to 3 months or more for the court to address the situation.  In the past, trail users who have come in contact with the contesting party have been treated politely by him and even encouraged to use the trail.  Unfortunately, our efforts as members of the FWRT to resolve or even discuss the situation have been met with hostility.  Given the situation, it is up to each trail user to decide whether to use the RFR access to the trail. If you are feeling concerned about using the RFR trail head, you can access the trail from Fox Farm Rd or the Marina trail head.   We regret the uncertainty and any inconvenience this is causing.