COVID-19: Safety on the Trail

COVID19 public notice, West River Trail

Keep yourself and others safe on the West River Trail! 

COVID-19 Safety Posters have been put up at the trailheads today. 

Please share this area safely and responsibly:

Use the trail only if you feel well and have not been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

Practice social distancing – maintain at least 6 feet between yourself and those not in your family.

Wear a mask. Save N95 masks for healthcare professionals; use a homemade cloth mask, purchased mask, or bandana.

Avoid shared surfaces such as benches, picnic tables, railings.

Consider less traveled trails if the trail or parking lot appears crowded.

For more information please visit: healthvermont.gov/covid19

West River Trail Featured in The Manchester Journal

Photo courtesy of Kris Radder, Brattleboro Reformer via the Manchester Journal.

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”
– Rachel Carson

For those seeking “social distancing” the way that Henry David Thoreau described it — a silent communion with the woods — Southern Vermont offers many places for a walk, a ramble or a hike.

The West River Trail was featured in a recent Manchester Journal article by Greg Sukiennik, about places to find quiet, natural beauty in Southern Vermont. Read the Full article in the Manchester Journal. Photo courtesy of Kris Radder, Brattleboro Reformer via the Manchester Journal.

The West River Trail: The former railbed of the misbegotten West River Railroad is currently split into two trail sections, with future plans to connect them into a single 36-mile trail. The lower section stretches from The Marina in Brattleboro to the old quarry on Rice Farm Rd in Dummerston. The upper section stretches from the former South Londonderry train depot to Townshend Dam, with several parking lots along the way, and is home to the annual West River Trail Run, scheduled for June.

Enjoy the trail! Be safe, be well, and embrace nature and the outdoors.

Volunteer Wanted!

West River Trail, Rice Farm Road Access

The Friends of the West River Trail (FWRT) Lower Section Steering Committee has a rewarding volunteer opening for someone who can help organize and file the papers documenting the work of making the West River Trail accessible to all.

Do you have a special interest or skill in organizing files/papers? Do you love nature trails? Would you like to help organize and document the work of a local non-profit? Do you have a little extra time in your schedule to help support the West River Trail?

Please email us at lowersection@westrivertrail.org if you are that special someone. We look forward to hearing from you!

Or maybe you know of someone else who may be interested? If so, please share this announcement with them. Thank you!

About the FWRT:
Organized in 1992, the Friends of the West River Trail (FWRT) is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the establishment of a 36-mile scenic trail through the West River Valley – eventually linking Brattleboro, Dummerston, Newfane, Townshend, Jamaica and South Londonderry.

The FWRT’s mission is 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.
Coordinate local, state and federal interests in planning, funding, construction, management and use of the trail system.

Rice Farm Road Trailhead Sign

West River Trail Rice Farm Road Sign, Photo by Stephen Shriner, March 2020

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!

Tuesday Giving: The West River Trail

Milton Avery (1885–1965), Blue Trees, 1945. Oil on canvas, 28 × 36 inches. Neuberger Museum of Art, Gift of Roy R. Neuberger, Purchase College, State University of New York. © 2016 The Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Milton Avery (1885–1965), Blue Trees, 1945. Oil on canvas, 28 × 36 inches. Neuberger Museum of Art, Gift of Roy R. Neuberger, Purchase College, State University of New York. © 2016 The Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

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

The 7th Annual West River Trail Run

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.

Help Clean Up the Wetlands!

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!)

Thanks in advance if you can come help out! Please spread the word! ~ For questions, contact Kathy Urffer, River Steward, Connecticut River Conservancy, formerly Connecticut River Watershed Council. 802-258-0413. kurffer@ctriver.org

Image courtesy of Green Up Vermont. More Green Up Day activities featured in the Brattleboro Reformer. Click through for more info.

Bag a Bean for the West River Trail

The Brattleboro Food Co-op’s Bag a Bean program is a convenient way for shoppers to donate money to local organizations. Many thanks to the Co-op for featuring The West River Trail in April. If you shop at the Brattleboro Food Co-op this month, please consider donating your beans to the West River Trail. Each Fava bean is worth 5¢ each, and helps support improvements to the West River Trail.

How does it work? For every reusable bag or container you use during your shopping trip, we will provide you with a Fava bean at the register. These Fava beans are worth 5¢ each when donated to one of the three local non-profits displayed at our exit. Each month there are three different organizations to choose from (organizations are featured on a rotating basis).

Visit or Contact:
Brattleboro Food Coop
2 Main Street
Brattleboro, VT 05301
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 7am-9pm, Sunday: 9am-9pm

Windham Regional Commission Trails Count

The excerpt below is from the Windham Regional Commission Trails Count Program. Click through to read the full story on the WRC website.

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.