Successful Trail Work Day, October 20, on the Lower Section of the West River Trail!

west-river-trail-nov-2018 - 1Charlie, Jennifer, Sue, Jason and Malcolm, our enthusiastic trail crew for the day, got a lot accomplished. They planted a post for the chain at the Rice Farm Road Trailhead and cleared the area for the new kiosk (for which we recently received approval from the Dummerston DRB!) Grass was trimmed and overgrown brush was pruned back a mile along the trail from each end. Drainage ditches and culverts were raked out, leaving the trail in good shape! A big thank you to our volunteers!

Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie

Vermont Movie PosterSave the dates! The Friends of the West River Trail, Weston Historical Society & The Londonderry Arts and Historical Society present:
Freedom & Unity: The Vermont Movie, the first-ever documentary series about Vermont. All six chapters will be shown at the South Londonderry Railroad Depot; the first two episodes this Fall and the remaining chapters in 2019.
Part 1: “A Very New Idea”
Thursday, Nov. 15
Explores the roots from which the future state of Vermont grew, from Samuel Champlain to the Civil War.
Part 2: “Under the Surface”
Thursday, Nov. 29
Yes, quarrying, but also about social movements that have belied Vermont’s bucolic image.
South Londonderry Railroad Depot Route 100
7:00-8:30 PM
Admission free; donations appreciated. For more information on the movie visit the Vermont Movie website.

Grand Teton National Park: A Geographic Portrait

Grand TetonOn November 8, Jeff Nugent, a former volunteer with the U.S. National Park Service and presently a specialist with the Windham Regional Commission, will present “Grand Teton National Park: A Geographic Portrait” accompanied by beautiful images of this iconic locale.
Thursday, Nov. 8, 7 PM
South Londonderry RR Depot
Free Admission, donations appreciated

WRT Volunteer Trail Work Day

cropped-milton-avery-in-vermontWe are having a Trail Work Day on Saturday, October 20 from 10 AM to 2 PM. We will meet at the Rice Farm Road Trail head. We’ll be doing some trimming along the trail, weed whacking under the power lines, clearing drainage ditches of leaves and debris, planting a post, putting up some new signs, etc. Wear boots, bring water, snack, work gloves. We will have tools, but you are welcome to bring your own, such as a shovel, clippers, pruner, rake. Lunch will be provided. It will be fun! We look forward to seeing you and are so grateful for your help. For more information or to let us know you’re coming, contact us at: lowersection@westrivertrail.org. Thank you!

From Dream to Reality

viewsPosted on behalf of Alex Wilson.

In this in-depth article, Friends of the West River Trail Steering Committee member and Dummerston resident Alex Wilson describes efforts going back to 1997 to formalize the West River Trail on the lower section of the West River Railroad bed. The article is from Views of Dummerston, Spring 2018.  Click on pages 1, 12 and 13 to the read the article on the Views website. The full 3-page article can be viewed as a single document by clicking on this PDF – views-of-dummerston-from-dreams-to-reality-spring-2018

39 Steps at the South Londonderry Depot

The_39_Steps_1935_British_posterOn Tuesday, May 15, at 7 pm, the Friends of the West River Trail will present “The 39 Steps” a Hitchcock classic at the South Londonderry Depot.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and light refreshments will be served.
South Londonderry Depot, 34 River St., South Londonderry, VT.

Connecting Communities: The West River Trail is Expanding  

wrt spring 2013 elin waagen 4Connecting Communities: The West River Trail is Expanding: Friends of the West River Trail and The Nature Conservancy Collaborate to Grow Public Access.

The Friends of the West River Trail Inc. (FWRT) recently secured 13.7 acres of woodland in South Londonderry, Vermont, achieving strategic goals related to enhancing and expanding the existing West River Trail (WRT) – an off-road path that is popular year-round with locals and visitors of all ages and abilities.

Overall, this opportunity brings the FWRT that much closer to realizing its founding vision of completing a 36-mile scenic, multi-modal trail linking the West River Valley towns of Brattleboro, Dummerston, Newfane, Townshend, Jamaica, and South Londonderry , once connected by the West River Railroad which ran from 1880 to the1930s.

For the past 25 years, FWRT has been working in partnership with state and federal organizations including Vermont Forests, Parks and Recreation, US Army Corps of Engineers, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Vermont Land Trust and The Nature Conservancy, as well as private landowners, to reclaim and reconnect remnants of the original railroad bed and adjacent lands for year-round recreational use and multiple resource values.

By acquiring this particular privately owned parcel, public access to what is known as the ‘Upper Section’ of the WRT (South Londonderry to Townshend Lake ) can be improved for an even better user-experience, says Greg Meulemans, current FWRT Board President.

“We are thrilled to finally secure this piece of property for all to use in the future. With ambitious fundraising to complete the transaction, clean up the remains of an old junkyard and redevelop this parcel, FWRT can move forward to preserve the very popular northern access point to the 16-mile section of the trail. Our plan is to enhance the access to the trail and the surrounding area by creating designated parking, building an informational kiosk and developing an expanded trail network.”

The FWRT concept of “an expanded trail network” is further supported by a concurrent neighboring land transaction by which The Nature Conservancy (TNC) acquired and permanently protected 102 acres adjacent to the Winhall Brook Natural Area, already owned by the Conservancy. The collective conservation of these parcels will help safeguard the West River itself and the freshwater species that rely on it for habitat, such as American shad, American eel, brook trout, and state-threatened freshwater mussels.

“This project is a great example of protecting a stage for biodiversity while also increasing public access to a community trail that helps connect people with nature. It’s a win-win to work with great local conservation partners like Friends of the West River,” said Jon Binhammer, Director of Land Protection for The Nature Conservancy.

To donate online to the West River Trail Upper Section (credit card or PayPal), please click on the WRT DONATE page. Or, mail your gift to West River Trail (Upper Section), P.O. Box 2086, S. Londonderry, Vermont 05155

Posted on behalf of:

Greg Meulemans, The Friends of the West River Trail, 802-366-0689
Eve Frankel, The Nature Conservancy, 802.595.5000

Friends of the West River Trail
Organized in 1992, the Friends of the West River Trail Inc. (FWRT) is a 501c3 non-profit organization working to: develop and maintain a publicly accessible system of paths along the West River corridor for educational, recreational and alternative transportation purposes; promote public awareness and enjoyment of the recreational path system and of the history, geology and biota of the West River valley; and coordinate local, state and federal interests in planning, funding, construction, management and use of the trail system. Please visit: www.westrivertrail.org for trail maps, volunteer opportunities and current information.

The Nature Conservancy in Vermont is a leader in safeguarding the natural resources of the Green Mountain State. We have helped conserve over 300,000 acres of land, 1,200 miles of shoreline, and we manage and maintain 55 natural areas that are open for hiking, fishing, snowshoeing and hunting. The Vermont chapter is proud to be connecting land, water, and wildlife for over 50 years. To learn more and support our important work, please visit: www.nature.org/vermont.