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.

The West River Trail Run

West River Trail RunSaturday, June 3, 2017, is the annual West River Trail Run, held in Londonderry & Jamaica, Vermont. A FUNdraiser to benefit The Collaborative’s long-standing programs like the Afterschool Program, Summer Camp, and Refuse To Use Program.
Click here for more info: https://runsignup.com/Race/VT/SouthLondonderry/WestRiverTrailRun

The full 11 mile trail run starts at the South Londonderry Depot and ends at Jamaica State Park. This run is great for trail running enthusiasts of all skill levels. In addition to the competitive, unofficial timed 11 mile run for individual runners, it has a 3-leg relay option, walkers’ start time and a 5K Fun Run.

The West River Trail Run course is surpack for the first 4 miles and follows the West River as you pass through Winhall Brook camp ground. Then into the woods as you watch your step with rocks, leaves and trees (oh my!), cross over Angel Falls (yes, there is water but there are rocks to step across), don’t forget to look up! Up the hill you go! Then down the gnarly switchback at Ball Mountain Dam. Almost there with 4 miles left, as the river is now to the right of you! A couple miles down the surpack in Jamaica State Park and you cross the finish to dip your feet in the river. We ask no dogs. If you would like to push a stroller, the 5K or the first leg of the race is best.

Sponsored by the Collaborative
Email: info@thecollaborative.us
Phone: (802) 824-4200
Physical & Mailing Address: 91 VT Route 11, Londonderry, Vermont 05148

Winter Newsletter 2013

Winter Newsletter 2013

 

WINTER NEWSLETTER 2013

Friends of the West River Trail

HOW DID IT GET TO BE FEBRUARY ALREADY?
We hope your holidays were happy and that your new year is going well so far!
Reports say that since the snows fell, both the upper and lower sections of the trail has been very nice for skiing and snowshoeing, (depending on the freezes and thaws, of course). I hope some of you have had a chance to get out there and enjoy this beautiful trail during the winter season!

AN INVITATION TO AN OPEN HOUSE
Doings at the Depot!
The public is invited to attend an Open House and social hour, with refreshments provided, hosted by the Friends of the West River Trail (FWRT), to be held on Tuesday, February 12, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM, in the South Londonderry Depot on Route 100.
At the Open House, visitors will be updated on the current projects involving both the West River Trail (South Londonderry to Brattleboro when completed) and the Depot itself. Recent significant advances in trail development in the Brattleboro area by the Southern Section of the Friends will be recognized.
During the social hour, the latest prize of memorabilia at the Depot will be formally introduced: a locomotive bell generously donated by William and Agnes Peele. It is believed that the bell came from one of the last regularly operated steam locomotives on the Santa Fe Railroad.
Tim Lawrence will also be on hand to present a narrated video depicting his recent experience hiking on a rail trail, one of a series he is producing, and will also, as a rail historian, update us on the status of his “Forgotten Railroads” project. Timothy W. Lawrence is Founder and Videographer, I.M.R. Films, created in 2003. Since that time, he has worked on numerous projects from online advertising for Coca-Cola and Comcast to corporate videos for companies such as Skyhorse Publishing, Living WRAP and more. He resides locally, in Windham, VT.
The Open House will be preceded at 5:30 PM by a short business meeting of the FWRT Board, which visitors are welcome to attend if they choose.
Please plan to join your friends and the Friends of the West River Trail for an enjoyable and informative evening.

BIG NEWS!
We have met our phase 1 fundraising goal! The Thomas Thompson Trust agreed to grant us $10,000 once we raised $35,000 from the community — which we have done!!! Hurray! Many, many individuals, grant-making organizations and businesses helped make this happen. Thanks to everyone who contributed!

SO, WHAT ELSE IS NEW?
Some of you may have noticed that fine crushed stone was spread on the trail late fall, starting just past the I-91 bridge and continuing for the next mile north. The material was donated by Mike Cersosimo, and the spreading and rolling was nicely done by Jason Evans. If you were able to walk or ride on that section of trail before the snow fell, you would have noticed that it’s a nice improvement to a section that was fairly bumpy due to exposed tree roots and holes. In the spring, we will see how the new surface withstood the winter and will welcome feedback on it. If the feedback is positive, we will explore whether other areas of trail could benefit from the same treatment.

We have two beautiful kiosks in place! They were built and installed by Morse and Mindell builders. One is at the Marina trailhead and the other at the Rice Farm Rd trailhead. Many thanks for this donation from Jonathan Morse, Stephen Mindell and their crew. Thanks also to Home Depot in Keene, NH for selling us the supplies at a discount.

We received a grant from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps! We’ll be getting a crew of youth for 4 weeks this summer. They will focus on building the new section of trail from Rice Farm Rd to the quarry on Quarry Rd, and on installing bridges.

SAFETY ON THE TRAIL
The Brattleboro Police Department Bicycle Patrol has been patrolling the lower section of the trail two to three times weekly (when it is clear enough of snow) to look for any safety or maintenance issues. We encourage all trail users to notify us of any safety or maintenance issues you encounter, by emailing at lowersection@westrivertrail.org.

PHOTO GALLERY
Check out the Gallery on the FWRT website for great photos from the trail. You’ll also see how you can send in your photos to be included in the Gallery. If the trail has been your muse and you have writings or artwork inspired by your experiences, we would love to post them on the website. Please send them in! We also welcome your blogs or comments!

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:
Spring Workdays on the lower section: when the ground is workable and the weather is amenable, we’ll be starting these up again. Watch for an email with dates or check the website.

Volunteer Workday Coordinator: We need a volunteer or two to help Jason Cooper plan, and lead work groups on the lower section. If you are interested, please email us at: lowersection@westrivertrail.org

Website updating: We need someone with website skills to help us keep the website updated. Do you have skills you could offer? Contact us at lowersection@westrivertrail.org

Posting information on our new kiosks: We need a volunteer to fill our kiosks, by posting signs, maps, announcements, photos, information of interest.

Enjoy the winter, and we look forward to seeing you on the trail!

Best,
Kathleen, for the Friends of the West River Trail

Friends of the West River Trail – Lower Section, 138 Elliot Street, Suite 3, Brattleboro VT 05301
http://www.westrivertrail.org