Riverstone Preserve Presentation

Riverstone Preserve Presentation

riverstone preserveRiverstone Preserve presentation PPT
Click the link above to view a presentation of the River Stone Preserve.

At the recent 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. FWRT would like to build stone steps, picnic table, a pavilion or shelter of some type, and an information kiosk. More volunteers are needed for projects happening this summer, please be in touch if you are interested in volunteering. 

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.

 

Birding on the West River

Birding on the West River

birding on the west riverRegistration is open for the Birding on the West River walk sponsored by the Vermont Land Trust.
River corridors provide important habitat for migratory and breeding birds. Grab your binoculars and look for birds along the West River Trail.
DATE: Saturday, May 17
TIME: 7:30 –10:00 AM
PLACE: Riverstone Preserve, West River Trail, Brattleboro, VT
Sponsored by The Vermont Land Trust. Click HERE to register. If you have questions, contact Sharon at 802-262-1241 or sharon@vlt.org.

Birding on the West River

Birding on the West River

birding on the west riverSave the date! Sneak Preview of an event coming up this spring!
Sponsored by The Vermont Land Trust:
Birding on the West River
DATE: Saturday, May 17
TIME: 7:30 –10:00 AM
PLACE: Riverstone Preserve, West River Trail, Brattleboro, VT
River corridors provide important habitat for migratory and breeding birds. Grab your binoculars and look for birds along the West River Trail.
Registration coming soon! We’ll keep you posted! Check the VLT website for more information.

Friends of the West River Trail Acquire and Conserve Key Land Parcel

Friends of the West River Trail Acquire and Conserve Key Land Parcel

wrt 3The following article was originally published in The Commons issue #237 (Wednesday, January 15, 2014). To read the full article click here

BRATTLEBORO—The Friends of the West River Trail and the Vermont Land Trust completed the purchase and conservation of a 23-acre parcel along the West River about a half-mile north of the Interstate 91 bridge. Renamed the Riverstone Preserve, this ecologically diverse site is nestled between the river and the corridor of the historic former West River Railroad.
The West River Trail, now occupying that corridor, is a dominant feature of the property. The trail is used for hiking, bicycling, cross-country skiing, and other non-motorized activities.
The Friends of the West River Trail and the Vermont Land Trust (VLT) worked together to purchase and conserve this parcel. The two organizations received a $65,050 grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB) and raised $32,200 in local funds and foundation grants. The Friends own the property and future uses will be in accordance with a conservation easement held by VHCB and VLT. “The Friends are so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with the Vermont Land Trust to conserve this piece of land,” said Kathleen White. “We are grateful to VHCB for the award and to all the donors that helped make this possible, and are excited about how public access to this land will benefit the community.” The land has an unusually rich complement of natural communities, including a floodplain forest, river shore grasslands, and river cobble shore. There are also several rare and uncommon plants, insects, and mussels, whose habitat is now protected.
“The Friends are a dynamic group of volunteers,” said Joan Weir, southeast regional director with the Vermont Land Trust. “It’s been a pleasure to work on this project and we look forward to seeing the continued active stewardship of this treasured resource”. The Friends sought to protect this property because of its ecological features and the recreational, scenic, and educational benefits the land can provide to the greater Brattleboro community.
Plans include enhancing the trail’s accessibility as a community amenity for recreation and school field trips. A picnic area and side trails that provide access to the river shore are envisioned.