West River Trail Update & Annual Meeting Report

West River Trail Update & Annual Meeting Report

WRT at MarinaThe West River Trail is open. Please be aware that 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. Trail users should be aware that snow removal operations on I-91 may cause snow to fall on the trail.

The next Trail Talk will be held on February 21. Check the I-91 bridge construction website for details.

Friends of the West River Trail (FWRT) in the news. Story published in The Commons issue #292 (Wednesday, February 11, 2015), page B2. Written by Sarah Buckingham.

LONDONDERRY—Work is about to begin to restore the former Newfane depot for use as a railroad museum. The Friends of The West River Trail (FWRT) learned more about this project, and others, when the group held its annual meeting at the former South Londonderry depot last month.

Laura Wallingford-Bacon, president of the Windham County Historical Society in Newfane, said her organization purchased the 1880 building for $42,000 from the children of Fannie and Bill Mantel last fall. It had been in the Mantel family for around 50 years. The railroad went out of business in the 1930s. The purchase price includes historical artifacts in the station. The historical society plans to restore the building and incorporate a collection of artifacts from the West River Railroad that currently resides at the county history museum. South Londonderry and Newfane are the only two of the 10 original depots from the West River Railroad that still sit at their original sites. Other surviving depots that were later relocated can be found in West Dummerston and Williamsville. Wallingford-Bacon said the historical society hopes to raise funds to offset the purchase price and to restore the property and they have received an “encouraging response” to that campaign. The restoration will take place in six phases, with an estimated total cost of around $50,000. The first, and most urgent, phase — addressing drainage and replacing the roof — is expected to cost $16,000.

At the annual meeting, FWRT board members Lester Humphreys and Paul Cameron gave a presentation on the Riverstone Preserve, a 23-acre parcel which the group acquired in 2013. The land sits one mile north of the Marina restaurant in Brattleboro, between the West River Trail and the river itself. The southern section subcommittee purchased the land for $97,000. One-third of the purchase price was raised in donations and the rest came from a grant from the Vermont Housing Conservation Board. The Vermont Land Trust holds a conservation easement on the property.
Cameron gave an overview of the plant communities in the Riverstone Preserve, which include a sugar maple ostrich fern flood plain community; a river shore grassland that is home to several rare plants such as the great lobelia; and a river cobbleshore, where the FWRT are working to control invasive Japanese knotweed, the worst of several invasive plant species in the preserve. Cameron also reported that last spring a volunteer group formed to develop a management plan for the preserve. So far the group has completed a drainage project, built a trail connector with a board walk, removed an old shed, and continues to work removing invasive species. More volunteers are needed for projects happening this summer. FWRT would like to build stone steps, picnic table, a pavilion or shelter of some type, and an information kiosk.

The FWRT board of directors elected Greg Meulemans as board president and treasurer. Humphreys was voted in as vice president of the board and assistant treasurer for the trail’s lower section subcommittee, and Sharon Crossman the assistant treasurer of upper section.

Meulemans reported that FWRT has received a grant for mile markers which will be modeled after railroad markers and be installed along the trail this summer.

 

West River Trail Run Saturday June 7th

West River Trail Run Saturday June 7th

 

The West River Trail Run
Saturday June 7, 2014.
The West River Trail Run is a spectacular run along the West River from South Londonderry to Jamaica in beautiful Southern Vermont. Open to single runners & relay teams of 3. Hikers and walkers are welcome and will start about an hour before the runners. For more information and to register, please call 802-824-4200 or check the The West River Trail Run website.

West River Trail Section in Jamaica Vermont

West River Trail Section in Jamaica Vermont

wrt jamaicaThe  Vermont State Parks and the Green Mountain Club recommends the West River Trail at the Jamaica State Park as a place to hike in early spring. Hurray for spring!

Here is an excerpt from the Green Mountain Club webpage: Click HERE for more info.
Plan spring hikes in hardwood forests at lower elevations. If a trail is so muddy that you need to walk on the vegetation beside it, turn back and find another place to hike. Avoid spruce-fir (conifer) forest at higher elevations and on north slopes before late May and from the end of October until frozen or snow-covered.
Some recommended places to hike this spring are:
Southeast Vermont:
West River Trail , click HERE for details.
• Jamaica State Park Trails

Recreational Trails in Jamacia State Park:  West River Trail, 2.0 miles from park entrance to Cobb Brook Bridge.
One of few converted rail beds in southern Vermont, the section in the park is universally-accessible and great for easy walking, jogging or biking. Open to all foot travel and bicycles. The trail meanders along the West River, following the old bed of the West River Railroad. Look for “The Dumplings,” a group of large boulders about one half mile up the trail. Follow the trail for another 1.5 miles to reach Cobb Brook. After crossing the brook, the trail continues to Ball Mountain Dam (another 0.5 mile on federal property). Completed in 1961 for flood control, the dam stands 265 feet high and is 915 feet long. The section of trail in the park is part of a rail trail that is managed by the Friends of the West River Trail.

With the trails in State Parks, check in with the VT Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation to see if the park and trails are open. Their phone number is (802) 241-3655.

 

Hitchcock Presented at Londonderry Depot

Hitchcock Presented at Londonderry Depot

The_Trouble_with_Harry

Alfred Hitchcock was a master of suspense, mystery, at times horror and even humor. Two upcoming Londonderry Depot events on Hitchcock are featured in the Manchester (VT) Journal Arts section. To read the full article, click HERE.

The public is invited to two events in early May celebrating the career and legacy of famed film director Alfred Hitchcock, both taking place at the restored South Londonderry Depot on Route 100 and hosted by the Friends of the West River Trail.
The first, on Friday, May 2, at 7 p.m. will be a presentation of Hitchcock’s career, supported by clips of his most renowned works, by film expert Rick Winston. Two weeks later, on May 16 at 7:30 p.m., the Friends of the West River Trail will present a screening of “The Trouble with Harry,” perhaps Hitchcock’s most comedic venture, though still with a touch of the macabre.
The Depot is handicapped-accessible. The events are free and open to all.

The first, on Friday, May 2, at 7 p.m. will be a presentation of Hitchcock’s career, supported by clips of his most renowned works, by film expert Rick Winston.
Hitchcock famously said “Some films are slices of life; mine are slices of cake.”
Winston’s presentation consists of 12 film clips, from “The Thirty-Nine Steps” (1935) to “The Birds” (1963), with a discussion of the evolution of Hitchcock’s craft, an exploration of his favorite themes and motifs (innocence and guilt, ordinary people in extraordinary situations, thrilling climaxes in public places, inanimate objects which take on great significance), and his work with famous collaborators. Winston grew up in Yonkers, N.Y., and became hooked watching old films on TV at a young age. He went to Columbia College and University of California, Berkeley. He moved to Vermont in 1970 and founded the Lightning Ridge Film Society, which morphed into the Savoy Theater in 1981. He was a founder of the Green Mountain Film Festival and was its Programming Director until 2012. Since 2009, he has been teaching film at Burlington College and the Community College of Vermont.
Winston’s presentation is sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council as part of its’ Speakers Bureau program. The Vermont Humanities Council is dedicated to creating a State in which every individual reads, participates in public affairs, and continues to learn throughout life. Thanks to the sponsorship by the Humanities Council, there is no cost to attend. Voluntary contributions to support the preservation of the Depot will be gratefully accepted, but are not required.

On May 16 at 7:30 p.m., the Friends of the West River Trail will present a screening of “The Trouble with Harry,” perhaps Hitchcock’s most comedic venture, though still with a touch of the macabre. The story is set, and partially filmed, in Vermont and, unlike some of Hitchcock’s films, will not afflict its viewers with recurring nightmares. Fledgling performers appearing in “Harry” include Jerry Mathers, before “Leave it to Beaver,” and Shirley MacLaine (her film debut) alongside veterans John Forsythe and Edmond Gwenn.
This is a community event hosted by the Friends of the West River Trail. There is no admission charge. Again, however, voluntary contributions to assist with the upkeep of the Depot will be accepted.

The West River Trail Run June 7, 2014

The West River Trail Run June 7, 2014

trailrunpostrSave the date!
The West River Trail Run
June 7, 2014
A spectacular run along the West River from South Londonderry to Jamaica in beautiful Southern Vermont. Open to single runners & relay teams of 3. Hikers and walkers are welcome and will start about an hour before the runners.
For more information, please call 802-824-4200 or check the The West River Trail Run website. Or follow on Facebook. 

Alfred Hitchcock and the Art of Suspense

Alfred Hitchcock and the Art of Suspense

Hitchcock - LondonderryAlfred Hitchcock and the Art of Suspense
Friday, May 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Depot Visitors Center, 34 West River Street, South Londonderry, VT
Hitchcock famously said “Some films are slices of life; mine are slices of cake.” His career spanned forty years and many film eras. Film expert Rick Winston will discuss the evolution of Hitchcock’s craft, exploring his favorite themes, his relationship with his collaborators, and his wry sense of humour no matter how grisly the subject matter. By drawing on twelve film clips, starting with his 1925 silent The Lodger and continuing through to his Hollywood classics such as Notorious and Rear Window, Winston will illuminate the arc of Hitchcock’s brilliant career.
Free, accessible to people with disabilities, and open to the public.
Contact Sharon Crossman at (802) 824-6246 for more information. A Vermont Humanities Council event hosted by the Friends of West River Trail.

Report on the 1st Annual West River Trail Run

Report on the 1st Annual West River Trail Run

The 1st Annual West River Trail Run held on June 1, 2013 was a huge success! Runners were blessed with spectacular weather and a beautiful trail. A big thanks to the runners, volunteers and spectators, and to our partners – Friends of the West River Trail, Southern Vermont Technical Rescue, Winhall/Townshend Campground and Jamaica State Park. A big thanks also to our sponsors – Stratton Mountain Resort, TimberQuest, Prospect Rehabilitation, Real Sports, Peabody’s Apiaries, Taylor Farm, Maggie’s Farm and Grandma Millers.

More pictures can be found on the West River Trail Run Facebook page. Hope to see you again next year!

 

West Trail Run June 1st: Calling Runners and Race Volunteers

West Trail Run June 1st: Calling Runners and Race Volunteers

currentWRTRposter

Calling all runners and race volunteers!! Please join us for the annual West River Trail Run on Saturday, June 1st! Please contact us for more information about the event or if you are interested in helping out! Hurry! Registration is limited and closes this Friday, May 24, 2013. Email us at info@thecollaborative.us or call us at 802.824.4200. See poster for more details and contact information.

The Collaborative will be hosting its first Trail Run on June 1st, 2013. This is an annual event to help the Collaborative to provide fun, healthy educational programs for youth in the Northshire and Mountain communities. Please check THE COLLABORATIVE WEBSITE for more information and to register.

Run along 11 of the 36 miles of the West River Trail in Southern Vermont. The run will start at Londonderry Depot, 34 West River Street, South Londonderry, VT 05155 and end at Jamaica State Park, 48 Salmon Hole Lane, Jamaica, Vermont 05343

Relay teams of 3 or individuals are invited to participate. Runners have the option to ride the bus from Jamaica State Park back to the start after the awards ceremony. Relay teams are allowed one car during the run to transport. Teams are responsible for their own transportation.

Runner 1: 4 miles of flat trail. Runner is on the main rail-trail, which provides a more gentle grade and relatively easy travel. Trail follows the campground road through the campground and over a single-lane bridge crossing the Winhall River.

Runner 2: 4 miles of uphill and switchback, single trail. From the south trailhead of Winhall Campground, the surpack surface of the West River Trail continues along the river’s edge. Becoming a footpath through the forest, the single-track section of trail involves several short uphill jaunts and a variety of stream crossings. This is considered the most challenging section of the trail.

Runner 3: 3.5 miles of gradual downhill and flat trail. The switchback trail traverses back and forth across the steep face of the dam, arriving in the river valley as a footpath. The trail follows the river down stream, crossing the Cobb Bridge. The West River Trail continues along the old railroad grade. This section of trail is well-used and provides easy running with lovely views of the river.

To register, click HERE. Registration closes on Friday, May 24, 2013. Registrations may be mailed to The Collaborative c/o Trail Run, PO Box 32, South Londonderry, VT 05155.  Email us at info@thecollaborative.us or call us at 802.824.4200. 

The Run will start at 9 am on June 1st.
Packet-pick up:
May 31, 6-8:30pm: Depot, 34 West River Street, South Londonderry, VT 05155
June 1, 7-7:45am: Depot, 34 West River Street, South Londonderry, VT 05155

Thank you to our sponsors and partners: Friends of the West River Trail, Jamaica State Park, Ball Mountain/Townsend Lakes.
For more information and to register, check EVENT WEBSITE.

Run the West River Trail on June 1st

Run the West River Trail on June 1st

TrailRunLogo The Collaborative will be hosting its first Trail Run on June 1st, 2013. This is an annual event to help the Collaborative to provide fun, healthy educational programs for youth in the Northshire and Mountain communities. Please check THE COLLABORATIVE WEBSITE for more information and to register.

Run 11 of the 36 miles of  the West River Trail along the beautiful West River in Southern Vermont. The run will start at Londonderry Depot, 34 West River Street, South Londonderry, VT 05155 and end at Jamaica State Park, 48 Salmon Hole Lane, Jamaica, Vermont 05343

Relay teams of 3 or  individuals are invited to participate. Runners have the option to ride the bus from Jamaica State Park back to the start after awards ceremony. Relay teams are allowed one car during the run to transport. Teams are responsible for their own transportation.

Runner 1: 4 miles of flat trail. Runner is on the main rail-trail, which provides a more gentle grade and relatively easy travel. Trail follows the campground road through the campground and over a single-lane bridge crossing the Winhall River.

Runner 2: 4 miles of uphill and switchback, single trail. From the south trailhead of Winhall Campground, the surpack surface of the West River Trail continues along the river’s edge. Becoming a footpath through the forest, the single-track section of trail involves several short uphill jaunts and a variety of stream crossings. This is considered the most challenging section of the trail.

Runner 3: 3.5 miles of gradual downhill and flat trail. The switchback trail traverses back and forth across the steep face of the dam, arriving in the river valley as a footpath. The trail follows the river down stream, crossing the Cobb Bridge. The West River Trail continues along the old railroad grade. This section of trail is well-used and provides easy running with lovely views of the river.

To register, click HERE. Registration closes on Friday, May 24, 2013. Registrations may be mailed to The Collaborative c/o Trail Run, PO Box 32, South Londonderry, VT 05155.

The Run will start at 9 am on June 1st.
Packet-pick up:
May 31, 6-8:30pm: Depot, 34 West River Street, South Londonderry, VT 05155
June 1, 7-7:45am: Depot, 34 West River Street, South Londonderry, VT 05155

Thank you to our sponsors and partners: Friends of the West River Trail, Jamaica State Park, Ball Mountain/Townsend Lakes.
For more information and to register, check EVENT WEBSITE.

Report of the Friends of the West River Trail Annual Meeting

Report of the Friends of the West River Trail Annual Meeting

The Friends of the West River Trail Annual Meeting on February 12 at the Depot was a treat!
Having never been to the renovated South Londonderry Depot, I was curious to see it. I also wanted to meet more of our fellow Friends of the West River Trail from further north. Lester, Alex, Jason and I, from the Lower Section, traveled together. Upon arrival, we found a cozily lit open room with new, exposed post and beam construction. There was a display of Railroad memorabilia, a FWRT display, a table full of delectable looking h’or-doeuvres, and friendly faces. After a little socializing, a brief informal meeting was called to order by Fred Haartman, the president. Sherry Crossman reported on interesting updates from the upper section, the lower section gang added our news, and a quick election of officers ensued. At 6 PM, more people arrived for nibbling and schmoozing. At the tolling of the old train bell, our attention was directed to hear about the beautiful old RR bell and meet William Peele, who along with his wife Agnes, generously donated the bell to the FWRT Depot for safe keeping. We then took seats and watched the 7 ½ minute video of the West River Trail, presented by its creator, Tim Lawrence. This upbeat, fun journey on the trail with Tim and his Siberian Husky, shows viewers where to park at the various trail accesses and what type of conditions to expect. This video can be found on our FWRT Facebook page and You Tube. We will get it on the website ASAP!
The Annual Meeting event was fun, informative, and affirming for all. FWRT and friends are a good group of folks with a great mission and an ever improving product—the Trail! We hope to get the upper section folks down here this spring for a picnic and hike on the lower section.
NEWS from the Upper Section: a long planned pedestrian bridge over the river near the Winhall Campground will SOON be a reality! It will be built across the old RR bridge abutments within the next year or so!
Submitted by Kathleen White, Lower section steering committee