The West River Trail has a beautiful new sign at the Rice Farm Road trailhead.
Gratitude and huge thanks go out to Jason Cooper, Mark Westa, Steve Shriner, Malcolm Moore, and Howard Printing.
* Jason Cooper and Mark Westa put the posts in the ground last fall. * Steve Shriner crafted and painted the signs. * Malcolm Moore and Steve Shriner attached the signs to the posts. * Howard Printing, enlarged and printed the map for half the cost, as a donation-in-kind.
Stop by to check out the new sign and enjoy an early spring walk on the trail!
Please consider supporting the West River Trail on Giving Tuesday and in your end of year giving. With your support, we can continue to maintain and enhance the Trail for our local and visitor community.
People make trails. Take a walk down the West River Trail and you will see a cross section of our community. Couples strolling hand in hand, kids on their first bike ride, runners preparing for their first marathon, and awestruck out-of-state visitors getting a closeup view of the I-91 bridge. The West River Trail continues to flourish and has become a local destination.
The support of the trail has come about in large part because of the efforts of a dedicated group of volunteers. The Friends of the West River Trail ensures that the trail is maintained by trimming and repairing the trailbed, contracting for invasives control, and providing signage and maps to spread the word about this important community asset. We work to grow the trail, with possible land acquisitions and extensions of the trail.
With your support, we look to continue this work in several ways over the coming year:
Ongoing improvement of the West River trail. Over the coming year this will include the new sign on Rice Farm Road, benches, picnic tables and interpretive signs in the Riverstone Preserve. We also will continue our efforts at invasives control and drainage improvement.
Partner with other trail networks with the goal of providing continuous trail access throughout Brattleboro. We have worked over the past year on a vision for connected trail networks. We strive to work with other trail organizations to create a trail network to provide not only recreational opportunities, but realistic modes of transportation to help our region lessen its dependence on automobiles, reducing contributions to climate change. A network of safe, functional, connected pathways is key to this vision.
Continuation of the trail from the West River south to the unused rail bridge crossing the Connecticut river just south of downtown. We are now working to understand the various rights of way needed and any legal obstacles to making this a reality.
We would appreciate your support of these efforts though a year end gift. Click on the link to donate online or mail a donation to: West River Trail, Lower Section, 138 Elliot St, Suite 3, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301.
Best wishes from the Trail, with thanks for considering a gift to the West River Trail.
FRIENDS OF THE WEST RIVER TRAIL
Lower Section steering committee: Lester Humphreys (chair) Jason Cooper Wendy Ferris Matt Mann Malcolm Moore Steve Shriner Jesse Wagner Mark Westa Kathleen White Alex Wilson
Fundraising committee: Orly Munzing Brett Morrison Marcia Steckler Tom Yahn
Join the Brattleboro Words Project for a special discussion about the West River petroglyphs and our region’s enduring Abenaki presence.
The Brattleboro Words Project presents a special Roundtable Discussion on the West River petroglyphs and our region’s enduring Abenaki presence on Friday August 16 at 6 pm at The Marina Restaurant, 28 Spring Tree Road, Brattleboro, VT 05301.
Diver/Explorer Annette Spaulding, Rich Holschuh, and Dr. Jessica Dolan will present their research from a pontoon boat while guests view from The Marina’s outdoor deck and from their own boats, kayaks, and canoes gathered around in the water for an enlightening and fun evening.
At 7 pm the presentation will move off the water and into the adjacent Marinaville tent for open discussion.
Since construction of the Vernon Dam flooded the Retreat Meadows 110 years ago, Abenaki petroglyphs—ancient images carved in stone—have rested submerged, unseen evidence of the significant Native presence all around us. A special installment of the monthly Brattleboro Words Project’s free Roundtable Discussion series will be held on the waters of the West River/Connecticut River confluence to explore this presence and celebrate ongoing Vermont Land Trust conservation efforts adjacent to the site at The Marina Restaurant.
Archaeologist and diver Annette Spaulding—whose 25-year search led to finding the petroglyphs, Rich Holschuh – member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs, and anthropologist and Indigenous Studies scholar Jessica Dolan will present on the petroglyphs and their significance to the Western Abenaki community and our region as a whole. Brattleboro Historical Society President Joe Rivers will lead with a land acknowledgment and moderate the discussion. Reg Martell, Brattleboro Words Project Multimedia Producer conceived of and is producing the event.
The presentation will be given from a pontoon boat—Annette’s diving platform—from 6:00 to 7:00 PM, and the public is invited to gather round by boat, kayak, and canoe, or to observe from The Marina’s outdoor deck (call The Marina at (802) 257-7563 to reserve a deck table for dinner at 6:00 pm). After the presentation, attendees are invited to join Annette, Rich, and Jessica in the Marinaville tent (parking lot adjacent) for continued discussion and to learn more about their research on local indigenous history.
Spaulding, a certified Underwater Criminal Investigator, determined to find the petroglyphs after seeing a circa 1850 drawing that described them. She spent decades of research, did hundreds of dives (where she discovered many other historical artifacts) and dug through much sediment to find them in 2017. “This is a very sacred site for Native Americans,” Spaulding said. “The land should be undisturbed and protected forever.”
“The Petroglyphs here and in Bellows Falls are examples of an Indigenous form of art and textual communication about creation stories and the meaning of place” Dolan said. “My research with the Words Project is dedicated to highlighting the cultural history and ecology of Abenaki relationships with the greater Brattleboro area so the next generations can better understand the Indigenous histories of this place that we, and many others, have called home.” Dolan’s work is supported in part by the New England Grassroots Environment Fund.
Dolan and Holschuh are working on podcasts and school curriculum development on Indigenous studies for seven sites for The Brattleboro Words Project, a multi-year collaboration between the Brattleboro Historical Society, the Brattleboro Literary Festival, Write Action, Brooks Memorial Library and Marlboro College backed by a National Endowment for the Humanities matching grant and funding from The Windham Foundation, Edward Jones, Brattleboro Savings & Loan and other area sponsors.
Join paddlers of all skill levels at the Annual Brattle Paddle! Racers can register on race day. Spectators are encouraged to watch from their own paddlecrafts on the river and along the shoreline and on bridges along the route. The more the merrier!
The Brattle Paddle Sunday June 30, 2019 Registration: 8:30 am – 10 am Race starts: 10:30 am Entry fee: $25.00 Racing distance: 9 miles Recreational distance: 5 miles Separate starts for different classes Awards will be presented following the races
A light lunch will be provided under the party tent for all registered participants by The Marina On the Water.
Directions from North or South I-91 to Exit 3, South on Route 5 to The Marina On the Water (located right before the bridge where the West and Connecticut rivers meet)
Join The Collaborative Saturday, June 1, 2019 for a beautiful run from South Londonderry, Vt. to Jamaica State Park. The route is 11 miles of fun and exciting terrain along the West River. We encourage all outdoor enthusiasts to participate individually or as a three-person relay team. There is also a 5K Fun Run with discounted registration for youth participants. All proceeds go to The Collaborative, a nonprofit providing healthy choices and activities for youth in the southern Vermont communities. For more information, call the office at 802-824-4200. For more information go to http://www.thecollaborative.us/westrivertrailrun.
Don’t be concerned about all the dead plant material you are seeing from the trail along the Riverstone Preserve area! This past Tuesday morning, lower section steering committee members Kathleen, Alex and Malcolm, had a tour of the results of the invasive plant treatments that were done on the Riverstone Preserve last fall, with Dan Healey of Long View Forest (who directed the treatment) and Jackie Comeau from the VT Dept of Fish & Wildlife (who monitors the work for the EQIP grant funds from the NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) . In order to receive grant funds to pay for follow up treatments, at least 90% of the invasive species that were treated last fall had to have been eradicated. As the photo illustrates, the effect on invasive plants was dramatic. Long View Forest will do a follow up treatment on the japanese knotweed and black swallow wort later this summer, and a third treatment in 2020. After that, volunteers will be needed to keep these plants (that will inevitably make a come back) at a manageable level. Along with the knotweed and black swallow wort, asiatic bittersweet, honeysuckle, multiflora rose, barberry and buckthorn were treated. It was lovely to see lots of ferns and other native plants springing up around the treated invasive plants–evidence of the effectiveness of the targeted treatment. For more information about this project, you can email email@example.com.
Volunteers needed for West River Trail work day! Wednesday May 15 4 PM to 6:30 PM
We will meet at 3:45 PM on Wednesday, May 15 at the Marina Trailhead and plan to head out on the trail at 4 PM. We will mostly be doing drainage clearing, though a few people will be chainsawing downed logs. All in all the trail is in great shape, but we need to clear the leaves and debris out of the drainage ditches along the wetter areas of the trail. Bring mud boots, gloves, bug dope, water and an iron rake or hoe if you have one. We have extra tools, if needed. Optional gathering at the Marina Restaurant afterwards! For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working out on the trail with you!
Posted on behalf of the Connecticut River Conservancy:
This Saturday is Green-up Day. Many of you may have plans already, but if you don’t, please join Kathy Urffer, River Steward for the Connecticut River Conservancy (and local businesses, organizations and friends) to remove tires from the wetlands adjacent to the West River on Spring Tree Road. We will be meeting at 8:30 am at The Marina Restaurant (28 Spring Tree Road, Brattleboro, VT) on Saturday, May 4th and will be working on this until around noon.
Agenda for day: 8:00 am: Kathy on site for set up 8:30 am: volunteers arrive: welcome, job delegation, training 9:00 am: GO! CLEAN! GO! 12:30 pm: finish up and cleanup
Kathy will have: trash bags, gloves, t-shirts, tire and trash tally sheets, tarps You should bring: bug spray, water bottle, muck boots/ hip or chest waders, sunscreen (dare to dream!), carabiners for your keys and if you are willing, extra tarps (they will get dirty!)
Would you believe that dozens of people each day were out on the West River Trail? Windham Regional Commission has expanded its pedestrian count program to the winter months, and recent data both surprised and pleased us. Counts on the West River Trail in Brattleboro from December 11, 2018 through New Year’s Day 2019 were only about 15 percent lower than the long term average for non-winter months. It was probably the short days as much as, if not more so, than the cold though that kept people from getting out. We came to this conclusion because while weekday counts for that period were lower than average, weekend counts, when people are more likely to have an opportunity to get out during daylight hours, were exactly the same as the long term average for data recorded in spring, summer, and fall. On Christmas Day we recorded 110 “trips” on our West River Trail counter. A “trip” is one person passing in one direction on the trail. At a place like the West River Trail where most people go out and back, we can estimate the number of persons using the trail to be about half the number of trips. This would mean about 55 people were out on the West River Trail on Christmas Day, about 50 on New Year’s Eve day, and about 68—our highest daily number—on December 29.