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RUTLAND: STRIDES & RIDES | By KIMBERLY GRIFFIN
Have you ever wondered how parks and other outdoor “natural” recreational venues are created? Often, as I walk among the trees and over the rocks on our region’s trails, I try to imagine the shovels and rakes, chainsaws and axes that many a hand must have wielded in order to create a path for my boots to traverse. And if I am really in a state of imagination, I try to trace the work even further back in time to the meetings and the sketches and the friendly — and sometimes not so friendly — arguments over land ownership and rights-of-way and fundraising and promotion that surely must have occurred long before a shovel ever touched the earth.
For many long-time Rutland City residents, the transformation of the area that is now Pine Hill Park is the one illustration of such work. Surely the same can be said for the Pittsford trails, the D & H trail, Northwood Park, and the many other recreational networks in our community.
As part of the work RAPAC is doing with the Rutland Regional Planning Commission under the Vermont Department of Health’s Healthy Community Design Grant, I was recently part of a meeting just like I imagined. Folks from the Pine Hill Partnership board, regional commissioners from Mendon and Hubbardton, and local citizens all came together on June 15 to pour over a map of the region; assessing existing trail networks, deciphering what plots of land are public or private, and coming up with dream trail connections to join towns or peaks, or just continue a trail past its current termination.
I was in awe of the knowledge each of these individuals carried about the woods and the back roads and the mountains in our region. As a group, there was seemingly no rock, no old bridge, no bend in the river that wasn’t familiar. And so, as we began to look dreamily at the potential for expanding and connecting the regional trail system, it felt as though the sky was the limit.
One such dream that is quickly becoming a reality, is the proposed Jim Jeffords State Forest. Linking Coolidge State Forest and Aitken State Forest in Mendon and Shrewsbury; the 100,000+ acre land conservation project will not only provide our region with over ten miles of hiking, mountain biking, skiing and snowmobile trails, it will also offer conserved habitat for Vermont wildlife such as moose, deer, turkey, bear, trout, songbirds and more, providing a resource to hunters, anglers and birdwatchers as well.
Acquisition of this land is currently being managed by the Trust for Public Land, along with a group of volunteers. A significant portion of private land has already been donated, and some funding to support more land procurement has been secured through private donation and public grants. The project team is currently working on a campaign to raise the remaining funds for the forest. For more information on the Jeffords State Forest, contact Kate Wanner at the Trust for Public Land: firstname.lastname@example.org.
While the Jeffords State Forest is one example of the beginnings of a new park/maintained intentional recreation space, it isn’t the only. June 15th’s meeting yielded quite a few new dreams; listing Class 4 roadways as potential mountain biking paths, revisiting old rail beds, and even highlighting Otter Creek as a water trail for canoeing and kayaking were all just bits of thought to be sorted, mapped and explored in the (hopefully near) future.
We are so fortunate to live in a state where opportunities for outdoor, exploratory recreation are virtually everywhere. I look forward to the continuance and further development of such opportunity for myself and generations to come.
Kimberly Griffin is the Director of the Rutland Area Physical Activity Coalition (RAPAC) whose mission is to promote and increase bicycle and pedestrian activity in Rutland County.
Pine Hill Partnership is a key component in keeping Pine Hill Park, Carriage Trail and Redfield trails in tip-top shape. Please consider making a contribution of any amount. We are a tax deductible 501 (c) 3 non-profit.
2015 Annual dinner
Impressive amount of volunteers last year.
- 3560 Volunteer Hours
- 4708 VYCC plus Volunteer Hours
- 68 Work days from the end of April to the end of October
- 840 Number of volunteers in the park in 2014
- Thank you very much to everyone who has helped in the park.
Projects Completed in 2014:
• Widened pedestrian bridges with Rutland Rotary South
• Rerouted Annex
• Trillium rerouted
• Santa’s Little Helper Mud holes repaired
• Lower Giorgetti by old softball field improved RHS XC team
• Two kiosks for Carriage Trail
• Repaired fabric showing on Underdog powerline
• Installed 7 French Drains on Birches near Voldemort
• First Turn on Exit Strategy had more dirt added to it
• Small reroute on PA4J/Lonely Rock has a less abrupt turn now
• VYCC 3 weeks on Carriage Trail
• VYCC 3 weeks in the fall on Carriage Trail and in the park for a total of 6 weeks
• Ribbon cutting for Carriage Trail
• Repaired powerline on Strong Angel
• Repaired powerline on Jersey Turnpike
• French Drain installed at base of powerline on Jersey Turnpike near Arthur’s Chair
• French Drain installed on Lonely Rock
Future Projects for 2015 and beyond:
• Sore Elbow Segment 2
• Sore Elbow Segment 3
• Furlough needs TLC to prevent water running straight down it
• Shimmer needs TLC on corner to prevent trail erosion
• ‘S’ turn on PA4J near Stegosaurus needs some TLC
• Ramp VYCC started to build off PA4J to enter Strong Angel from West side needs attention
• Reroute for Santa’s near the Droopy Muffin intersection
• Boardwalk at main entrance needs to be leveled
A suggestion was made to widen the boardwalk
A suggestion of taking part of the white pine down that hangs over the boardwalk that the pileated woodpecker is working over
• Broken Handlebar Extension-anyone will to step up and help with this trail?
• Trail by Carving Bench to prevent people from walking over gardens
• Front entrance-smooth upper tier out so can be mowed
• Fabric on Overlook near the top of Root Ride
Introduced the redesigned Pine Hill Park webpage www.pinehillpark.org Check it out.
We need a champion to drive the Broken Handlebar Trail Extension project
We would like to extend our gratitude to Tim Vile and Ben Reller who have helped us out in many way over the years.
Our board of directors for 2015 are: Joel Blumenthal, Andy Shinn, Keith Wight, Shelley Lutz, Claus Bartenstein, Dave Jenne and Bruce Saxman.
Please use TrailHub.org to find out condition of trails.
We are hoping you can attend the Pine Hill Partnership annual meeting on Monday, March 30th at 6pm at the Godnick Ctr. We will have some great food (both vegetarian, non-vegetarian and dessert), a short business meeting along with a short slide show.
We will have a short slide show to show our accomplishments for 2014 and plans for 2015. If you are unsure of your membership dues please contact Shelley at email@example.com or 775 4867 before 8pm for your current dues status.
Please RSVP to Shelley by Wednesday, March 25th if you can attend.
2014 Annual dinner
The Pine Hill Partnership had their annual meeting last week(March 2014) and welcomed four new board members—Keith Wight, Ben Reller, Andy Shinn and Joel Blumenthal. The officers for this year are Tim Vile as president, Keith Wight as vice president and Shelley Lutz as secretary/treasurer.
Thank you to outgoing president Michael Smith for his years of service to the park.
The Partnership are the stewards of the park and the Carriage Trail that runs from Pine Hill to Proctor. The city is very appreciative of their support for the park.
We really appreciate your support over the years.
Hope to see some of you at the spring work days.
VYCC finished up this past weekend. Wait till you see some of the incredible work they did all while camping out with the mosquitoes for 3 weeks. With luck we’ll have the Carriage Trail blazed by mid-September so it will be easier for folks to follow. If you get adventurous now the trail is passable but there are trees down on the Proctor side and it does get confusing over there with all the logging roads.
Youth Works finished up this past week also and did an absolutely fantastic job again in the park. They had over 2500 hours on Exit Strategy. The last two weeks we had them on PA4J(just past the Stegosaurus intersection), Upper Jersey, Upper Droopy, Svelte Tiger and Lower Droopy trying to dry out mud puddles which have been persistent this year. We are missing a hazel hoe on either on PA4J, Upper Jersey or Upper Droopy. A Pulaski is missing on upper part of Svelte Tiger or the lower part of Droopy(between Svelte and Upper Ledges). If you find one of these tools let us know.
We have a community work night this Thursday at 5pm we hope to finish off Exit Strategy if we get enough man power to move surepak and dirt into the last two corners. We’re really, really close. This trail will be a blast to ride!
Please keep an eye out for our missing tools, they would like a good home for winter.
Thank you very much for your support of Pine Hill Partnership, Inc.