Thanks to Ceara Rush, 2022 Americorps Member, who spent the summer buiding and maintaining trails statewide with CVTA, and co-lead our August volunteer trail crew.
June 19, 2022
Making the grade on the trail up to U-32 with sand salvaged from behind the Winooski hydro dam. (They have to dredge the dam annually to keep runoff from upstream clogging the works.) It seems like clean material, except for a startling number of golf balls. Are these from the driving range by Delairs?
June 18, 2022
Wind on the water this Saturday. One thing I like about annual Attack the Knotweed day along the Montpelier Bike Path is the chance to see a different angle, the city from the river.
June 11, 2022
Welcome to Ceara Rush, CVTA's 2022 Americorps Member, who has swooped in with her long black cape to bring justice to the trails of this city.
We have a second Americorps spot available.
Interested in outdoor work for the summer? Want to make a difference you can see? The Cross Vermont Trail Association seeks applicants for our AmeriCorps position OPEN NOW. You will develop trail building and maintenance skills and have the opportunity to learn group leadership skills with volunteer trail crews.
This position is Quarter Time: Requires 455 hours of service for an average of 40 hours per week for 13 weeks. Member will receive a living allowance of $5,400 (pre-tax), and an education award of $1,678.57 (pre-tax) upon successful completion of service. Other benefits include health insurance, federal school loan forbearance, and various training and networking opportunities.
Job description and how to apply here: https://vhcb.org/sites/default/files/programs/CVTA.pdf.
June 4, 2022
The Winooski Bridge is open to the public! Together with 1.5 mi extension of Montp Bike Path from Gallison Hill Rd to new trailhead parking on Route 2. The Ribbon Is No More!
The Cross Vermont Trail Association (CVTA) formally opened and dedicated the new Winooski Bridge in East Montpelier and Berlin on Saturday June 4. The new bridge is keystone link in a growing regional trail network. On June 4 one and half miles of new trail on either side of the bridge were also officially opened, extending the Montpelier Bike Path from Gallison Hill Road east along the old Montpelier & Wells River railroad bed for one mile, then across the new bridge and further on an additional half mile of newly constructed trail upstream along the Winooski River to a new trailhead parking lot on Route 2.
The ribbon cutting was attended by over 70 people who gathered on the bridge (it held!) and cheered as the large red ribbon was cut with lopping shears. Additional people, including many children and people of all ages, walked or biked by during the ceremony, as the new trail is already proving to be an attraction to local trail users.
Keynote speeches were given by Haley Pero from the office of Senator Sanders; Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation Michael Snyder; Director of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (and trail building volunteer) Gus Seelig; and Mayor of Montpelier Anne Watson. They emphasized that this was a true grass roots project with a small non profit organization, the CVTA, coordinating and pulling together a jigsaw puzzle of public funding from federal, state and municipal sources, with CVTA raising matching funds of $350,000 in private money contributed by hundreds of local individuals.
Finally, a brief ceremony dedicated the bridge to Esther Salmi and Tom Smith. Their memorial plaque reads: "Both were involved in the greater Montpelier community, enjoying cycling, running, hiking, cross country skiing and snow shoeing. Their commitment to fitness and respect for the environment live on in those who appreciate the outdoors." The bridge also memorializes John Warshow, an early and long time project supporter who, as one of the partners who created the Winooski Hydroelectric Company that reopened the power dam here and which owns the old railroad bridge abutments, was one of the first people CVTA talked with about the possibility of a trail on the old railbed.
A reproduction of an original railroad granite mile marker was unveiled. (Only 37 miles to go to Wells River!) The memorial plaques, for the people whom the bridge is in memory of, are mounted on this stone.
"It's amazing to see people out on the trail and crossing the bridge, like it's always been there" said Greg Western, Cross Vermont Trail Association Executive Director. "The past few weeks, once the physical work was done and the construction contractor was no longer on site, I have seen a regular stream of families with kids, older people on e-bikes, people casting fishing lines from the bridge, all day long."
Further trail construction is ongoing. When complete, the CVTA project will include five miles of additional trail. The new trail will connect to the U-32 school and the East Montpelier trail to the north, plus there will be new walking trails along the banks of the Winooski River for fishing, boating and just enjoying the water; and a final extension of the main bike path across East Montpelier to Route 14 where the current trail begins on the railbed and continues in various forms east across the state. For project updates and timelines go to https://crossvermont.org or call 802-498-0079. Trail users should be aware that sections of the trail still being built will be cordoned off from public access during active construction; any closed areas will be clearly marked.
June 1, 2022
Ready for our ribbon now.
The Cross Vermont Trail Association will officially open the 200-foot long Winooski River Bridge in East Montpelier on Saturday June 4 from 2-3:30.
The bridge is open for you to use! We are officially cutting the ribbon on it and the newest sections of trail on either side of bridge.
On the afternoon of June 4 we'll have some celebratory speaking, an actual ribbon WILL be cut, and finally a dedication of the bridge in memory of several people important to the project and the trail community.
Short guided hikes by CVTA Board members will be available to explain the work that has been done and is planned to happen over the next couple years, building out the full five miles of new trail that will complete the full project up to U-32 and along the Winooski across East Montpelier to Route 14.
If you plan to attend: Most folks should plan to park at Central Vermont Memorial Civic Center 268 Gallison Hill Road in Montpelier, walk or ride the pleasant one-mile section of old railbed, now the newest section of the Cross Vermont Trail - to the bridge site. (For those who may need to, it's OK to drive down the railbed this day and park by the dam. Just talk with the folks directing parking when you arrive and they can steer you through.)
Open to the public, no registration needed. Please join us, you CAN get there from here!
May 26, 2022
Cleaned up and defined the parking area at the new Gallison Hill Rd trailhead. In the past, people have parked at various locations along the railbed when going for walks or bike rides here.
Going forward though, we'd like to ask folks to use just this designated location, on the side of the bed a few hundred feet from the intersection of the railbed with Gallison Hill Rd (across from the Civic Center.) Please do not park on the railbed itself anymore, we don't want parked cars blocking the travel way.
May 25, 2022
Putting down crushed stone surface on the trail between the Winooski Bridge and the "behind the guardrail" segment alongside Route 2 - polishing the connection out to the current project end point at the Route 2 trailhead parking.
May 24, 2022
Folks have been out in force already this spring, taking full advantage of the new segment of trail as it has been completed, or a little before. It's cool.
May 6, 2022
The recognition of our peers, that's the best! The Cross Vermont Trail Winooski Bridge won "project of the year" at this year's Vermont Walk/Bike Summit.
May 1, 2022
Taking advantage of this sunny spring to get a jump on roughing out the trails through the U-32 Forest connecting from the Winooski Bridge and the old railbed up to the school (and eventually the East Montpelier trail network beyond.)
We're chipping away at this over the course of 2022, aiming to open this portion of the big project by end of the year, or early 2023.
April 26, 2022
Back to work. Thanks to Willey Construction for helping us connect the new Winooski Bridge down to the railbed that goes past the hydro dam and out to Gallison Hill Road.
This is possible because Winooski Hydro Co. and Green Mountain Power gave permanent public access easements for (non-motorized) use of the old railbed by walkers, bikers, and what not.
April 4, 2022
WCAX Channel 3 reports on the recently funded "Groton Gateway Project" and planned improvements to the Cross Vermont Trail. See the video here.
March 29, 2022
Three communities along the Cross Vermont Trail receive major grants to promote and improve access to trails and outdoor recreation.
Governor Scott and the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation announced on Monday March 28 the award of nearly 5 million dollars in funding to 24 outdoor recreation projects statewide including three - in Groton, Cabot and Montpelier - that will help extend the Cross Vermont Trail network.
Cross Vermont Trail Association (CVTA) Board Chair Mike Thomas, from Wells River, was quick to offer congratulations. "This is what the Cross Vermont Trail Association calls a success story, when neighboring communities each buy in to the larger dream of a connected four season multi use path across their respective boundaries, from Lake Champlain to the Connecticut." CVTA supported each community's application, and is looking forward to working with them as the work is done.
These grants are a part of the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative (VOREC). VOREC is a State program, guided by a steering committee made up of Vermont businesses and non-profits including outdoor manufacturers, retailers, brand representatives, trail and user groups. The goal of VOREC is to support recreation in natural settings in order to help maintain a healthy outdoor economy that invites visitors to our State, while also promoting a good quality of life for residents.
The three grants are:
Town of Groton: "Gateway Project", upgrading the Cross Vermont Trail that connects from the Village to Groton State Forest and to Pine Mountain wildlife area. Also securing new public greenspace along the Wells River, building new parking lot near the Village and improving signage town wide along the trail.
Town of Cabot: Building connections between the Village of Cabot, the Town’s four-season trail network, the Cross Vermont Trail and the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.
City of Montpelier: Strengthening downtown connection to existing outdoor recreation assets through the construction of two connector trails, tieing together with Cross Vermont Trail projects now underway in neighboring East Montpelier.
Michael Nahmias from the Town of Groton Planning Commission accepted the grant award from Governor Scott on Monday. "The village of Groton is a natural trailhead to explore this great area" said Nahmias. "We can't wait to get started on the Gateway Project and cleanly tie our village center via the upgraded Cross Vermont Trail to the state forest lands and beyond."
(I couldn't paraphrase Michael's quote better myself, really, that was my best effort.)
February 13, 2022
Cross Vermont Trail: Winooski Bridge and new trail across East Montpelier project:
Fundraising goal done! Trail construction under full steam 2022 and 2023.
Last December we told you about the need to raise the last leg of funding for our "big project" - to meet a challenge grant awarded CVTA by the Northern Borders Regional Commission for the last phase of the project along Route 2 and up to Route 14. This was the last of the identified needed funding to complete the full "Winooski Bridge Project" - the bridge and five miles of new trail. We are more than excited to announce that the challenge has been met!
With donations from many local individuals at the end of last year and now a major grant from the State of Vt just announced this week - we have got the budget we think we need to finish the complete trail from Gallison Hill Rd in Montpelier, up to U-32, then over the new Winooski Bridge and upstream along the Winooski River, finally cutting cross country to join the existing rail trail at Route 14.
We got across the fundraising finish line this week when CVTA was awarded a major grant of $75,000 from the State of Vt ERSA program - "Ehancement of Recreational Stewarship and Access". The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is awarding these grants to non-profit organizations and municipalities around the state for projects that will improve recreational trail stewardship, access, and accessibility. The intent of this funding is to "improve trail accessibility for this generation and generations to come, to help ensure a healthy economic recovery, from the Covid-19 crisis, with development rooted in environmental quality."
Now, it's all down to elbow grease. We will resume work this spring as soon as the weather allows, and expect to go steadily through 2022 and 2023 to complete all the planned and budgeted trail segments. Stay tuned for announcements as the project is built and opened in phases.
Project Construction Phases
1.) Winooski Bridge, and the trail on either side of it, out to the new Route 2 trailhead, will open late spring 2022.
2.) Trails connecting up to U-32 (and also providing access along the river) and a new trailhead at Gallison Hill Rd will open later in 2022.
3.) Finally we will build the trail the rest of the way across East Montpelier, during 2023, connecting to Route 14 where the existing trail begins on the old railbed.
View along the Winooski River upstream of the Winooski Bridge.
View from future trail route between Rte 2 and Rte 14, looking across conserved farmland.
Click here for larger image of map.
December 17, 2021
CVTA is the little engine that could. It's been a historic year of trail building, with the Winooski Bridge as the capstone. We are excited to keep it going.
You can help! Make a donation to support our 2022 trail building. Or contact us any time to learn how to pitch in in a hands on manner.
In 2022 our little CVTA engine is setting its sights on the next big peak: continuing east from the Winooski Bridge by building the off-road trail from Rte 2 to Rte 14.
Please support our work to build the next off-road section of the Cross Vermont Trail and get all the way to Route 14! This project is estimated to cost $150,000. CVTA was recently awarded a $75,000 challenge grant from the Northern Borders Regional Commission to build this nearly two miles of new universally accessible path. We are required to raise the remaining $75,000 before we start work and with a deadline to start by next September. We can beat this deadline with your help. Already this fall, a number of generous local donors have made contributions adding up to $40,000 that can be used toward this match, so we are over half-way there!
And beyond - CVTA Strategic Plan 2021 - 2025. The Winooski Bridge is the start line, not the finish line. Over the past year we have thought deeply and consulted widely about how to continue full steam ahead and make real the vision of the trail across Vermont. Read the full plan here.
Thank you, and we need you!
Thanks to all of you – local individuals who made donations to our Build the Bridge fund, landowners, municipalities, State agencies and more who have helped us to get here. We are deeply grateful. We are super excited to bring you this big new section of the Cross Vermont Trail, fulfilling our mission to connect communities, villages, schools and the natural areas in between.
Please support us in this work by making an end-of-year donation. Individual contributions to the Cross Vermont Trail range from $10 to several thousand dollars per person, and every single dollar counts to help us build and maintain the trail across the state. While we celebrate achieving the long-time goal of building the Winooski Bridge, the ongoing work of promoting, improving and extending local trails into a state-wide network continues. Your ongoing support makes a significant difference in realizing this vision.
With your help we can go full steam ahead on across the state, from Lake Champlain to the Connecticut River.
December 8, 2021
That's a wrap for the 2021 field season. The last of the (first) giant pile of gravel is spread out on the new trail leading up to each side of the Winooski Bridge. Thanks to volunteers from Norwich University who came out for a brisk day helping put the construction site to bed for the winter. We'll pick right back up next spring!
November 18, 2021
A historic construction season. The Winooski Bridge and other major contractor built portions of the big project across East Montpelier are now complete. The connecting pieces to join together the contractor built projects are being built now and in the spring by CVTA. A ribbon cutting ceremony officially opening the bridge and the first section of new trail to public use is planned for May 2022. Meanwhile, still reeling from this milestone year of trail building. Read the full season summary here.
November 12, 2021
Scintillating day last weekend for the second to last volunteer work party of the year on the new trail leading from the Winooski Bridge through the U-32 School Forest. One more to go this weekend, making a push to finish up the smaller wooden bridge we've been focusing on the last few outings.
November 5, 2021
Into the woods. Making the middle section of trail, away from the road closer to the river, that will connect the Winooski Bridge over to the "behind the guardrail" part along Route 2.
October 31, 2021
Eerie visions from the Cross Vermont Trail work site. Hoping for a dark and stormy night, but not another Halloween Storm!
October 29, 2021
Winooski Bridge contractor is back on site, making the section of trail that approaches from the east.
October 28, 2021
Finding treasure while digging the new section of trail in the U-32 Forest, connecting to the big Winooski Bridge. Several old bottles - one embossed with "Green Mountain Spring Water Soda Company - Barre, VT". I'd drink that!
October 21, 2021
The new guardrail ("median rail" technically, we are told) has been installed, and the path is under construction on the river side, along Route 2. Threading the needle at the narrowest point of the new trail being built alongside the highway.
October 21, 2021
Wrapped up a big part of the Blue Mountain Union trail project we've been chipping away at the last few years. This making a more inviting and accessible connection between the school and the Cross Vermont Trail on the nearyby railbed, as well as with the larger area of conserved land and trails beyond, along the Wells River.
While out on the trail a bunch of days in a row this Fall, couldn't help but notice the daily use it gets - a class or student group of some kind came down every day, along with many local community members going for a daily walk, bike rides with their kids, and a notable amount of mushroom hunting it seems.
The Tally So Far: surfaced with gravel 1,040 feet of trail, excavated to make trail wider and more gradual 675 feet, built 84 feet of boardwalk, installed 9 culverts with 170 feet of ditching.
There's a little more to go. In the future, aim to gradualize and then surface with gravel the remaining two steep parts right as the trail comes down the bluff from the school building. Stay tuned!
October 19, 2021
The new guardrail along Route 2 is going in this week! The Cross Vermont Trail will run beside the road, on the outside of the rail - for about 600 feet. (One of the few spots where we can't sneak the new trail down in the woods, farther from the road.)
October 19, 2021
Good volunteer day last weekend, setting stones to make the the big abutment for the little bridge in the U-32 Forest - on the trail leading to the big bridge with little abutments over the Winooski.
October 15, 2021
Winooski Bridge abutments are complete, with concrete cured and bridge bolted down. The approaches and site work is underway on either side - but still a construction site (not open yet, sigh!).
October 3, 2021
Nice day to work in the woods Saturday, not too hot. Getting the abutments and sills for the next small wooden bridge/boardwalk set on the new trail in the U-32 Forest. This trail will connect up to the school and then over the big new Winooski Bridge.
September 26, 2021
Perfect day to go biking at the 24th annual Fall Foliage Ride on the Cross Vermont Trail in Groton. It was good to see old friends and also to meet new folks just discovering the trail. Extra points to the couple who did the whole day on not charged electric bikes - all the weight penalty of the battery and none of the assist, whew!
September 24, 2021
Update for Winooski Bridge project. For starters - we're building another bridge, a little one in the U-32 School Forest. You can help, working this Sunday, come out the Powerplant Road (the old railbed leading to the hydro dam) and you'll see us working up in the trees, will be there 9 - 5, drop in any time. And meanwhile the three large contractor built phases of the project are moving along. At the Winooski Bridge itself, the concrete work at the abutments is being finalized. At the new guardrail, contractor is starting to set up in anticipation of (the backordered of course) material for the new safety rail arriving in October. And the new trailhead parking lot is built, with final site work and signage coming this Fall.
September 21, 2021
Fall Foliage Ride coming up this Saturday. Full details here.
September 12, 2021
Groton Forest Trail Run - what a nice day for a run it was yesterday! Over 125 marathoners, half marathoners, and 6 milers explored the trails of Groton State Forest, including the section we just rebuilt with our volunteer crew a few weeks ago. I think folks made up a little time on our sections of the trails, and maybe had to give it back to navigate the puncheons and boulders elsewhere, but hey, that's the adventure.
August 14, 2021
And that's a wrap for our two person Vermont Housing and Conservation Board Americorps crew. Kara and Alex have been out on the trail all summer, and crossed some big milestone with us. We finished "the big washout bypass" in East Montpelier, the last of the 2011 storm damage. And we kicked off building the trail leading across the new Winooski Bridge. We wish them well in next adventures, but are sorry to see them go (they were just picking up steam, really.)
August 14, 2021
Pulled off a one week volunteer crew in Groton State Forest this summer - with folks from American Hiking Society, Volunteers for Peace, our summer long Americorps two person crew, and some local volunteers dropped in as well. And thank goodness - crossed a big milestone, finishing off the many years long effort to upgrade the Telephone Line Trail to be "multi use, inviting to users of all abilities" (translation, fill in the mud, smooth the steep, and dig out the roots and rocks). This has been an essentially all volunteer effort, a little bit each summer, and it has really added up - and now we've done it! Thanks everyone!
August 14, 2021
Excited to announce we have received a significant grant to help complete the Cross Vermont Trail project all the way from Gallison Hill Rd up to Route 14, across the new Winooski Bridge. Right now we are working to build the new trail from Gallison Hill Road, up to U-32, across the big bridge and out to a new trailhead on Route 2. This work is funded and underway. After that, later next year, we will start on the final leg of construction - from the Route 2 parking upstream along the river and then cross country to the existing parking lot on Route 14. The cost of this work, to begin later next year, is expected to be $150,000. The award this week of $75,000 from NBRC in federal funds gets us half way there. And a donation at the same time from a local trail supporter for $5,000 has kicked off raising the last half. We are looking forward to getting the full project built and open!
August 13, 2021
Muddy Brook Bridge on Kimball Ave (South Burlington) and Marshall Avenue (Williston) closed through Fall 2021.
Major road reconstruction of a bridge at the border of South Burlington and Williston will require a detour on a portion of the Cross Vermont Trail route through Fall 2021 - at least until November.
There isn't an obvious bike path alternative, since the border between SB and Williston is the mighty Muddy Brook, cross-able in only a few places. A road detour will be signed of course, and you can follow that.
You can also explore longer alternate routes - Maps and links are posted here. Let us know if you find a good one we can share with others!
The crossing goes both ways. When the work is completed, humans will pass over the brook better, while other creatures will more easily pass under. Muddy Brook is a neat natural corridor sneaking behind the suburban veneer.
August 12, 2021
Appreciating help this week by a crew from Northern Forest Canoe Trail, improving the water access side trails between new sections of XVT in East Montpelier and banks of Winooski. Working now downstream of the bridge/hydrodam, then more upstream in the fall (or early next year.)
August 12, 2021
Trailhead parking on Route 2 being built this week - upstream of the new Winooski Bridge. The trail between is also underway - look for a ribbon cutting later this Fall.
August 10, 2021
Nice long interview last week on WCAX, still posted on their web. Talking about progress on the big bridge, and what's next.
July 30, 2021
The "trail in the woods" part of the Winooski Bridge project, thanks to our Americorps crew for getting things started last week! Volunteers can make a real difference, there will be numerous opportunities over the coming year. Kicking off this Saturday 7/31, meet at 9 AM at the start of Powerplant Rd (the old railbed), on Gallison Hill Rd, across the street from the Central Vermont Civic Center. Folks are welcome to help for any amount of time, we'll be there 9 - 5. Give a call to learn where to meet us if you come later in the day, or to find out about future volunteer days.