Groundbreaking for northern Vt. rail trail - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Groundbreaking for northern Vt. rail trail

Posted: Updated:
ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. -

It may not look like much now-- a gaping hole where a trestle once stood, a tractor awaiting work-- but Friday marked a new chapter for what was once a railroad across northern Vermont.

"There's a history around the country of abandoned rail trails becoming paths and finding new life," said Laural Ruggles of Friends of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.

New life in the form of a 93.2-mile, four-season recreational path from St. Johnsbury to Swanton, a project that has been stalled for more than a decade by finances and a lengthy permitting process. But for communities along the route, it's worth the wait.

"Oh, it's going to be great. It's going to be great for recreation. It's going to be great for some economic development, real tourism draw," said John Hall, the town manager in St. Johnsbury.

Right now if you're on the bike path headed out of St. Johnsbury you're stopped by signs, but in September, they will be gone, with a bridge in their place.

"At this point, about 60 percent of the trail is open for snowmobile use now. The sections that are closed, it's either due to washouts or bridges that are out," said Alexis Nelson, the executive director of the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers.

VAST says having an uninterrupted route from St. Johnsbury to Swanton would be a key snowmobiling draw, so they fronted much of the funding to get the $9.5 million trail rehab project started. The federal government will pay $5.2 million if project supporters can match 20 percent.

"You'll go through forested canopies, you know, beautiful green meadows, as you get into Danville fantastic views of the White Mountains in New Hampshire and then of course at the end here you'll have the entire length of Joe's Pond with its features of wetlands and beaver ponds and so forth," said Steve Larrabee of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail Committee.

This step from St. Johnsbury along to scenic Joe's Pond in West Danville is only the first section of the project, and some residents along the path have gotten involved, wanting to see new life on a now-overgrown trail.

"It's almost unanimously people are very excited about the trail coming through finally. They've heard about it for years and say well, will it ever happen? It's finally going to happen now," Larrabee said.

Because the rest of the project needs to be approved in sections, it could be another few years before the whole trail is complete.

The trail will be open to most recreational activities ranging from walking to biking, horseback riding or snowmobiling, but since it's state-owned land ATVs will not be allowed.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Snowmobile season officially ends

    Snowmobile season officially ends

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:08 AM EDT2014-04-16 05:08:12 GMT
    Today marks the end of the snowmobile season. The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers reports a banner year with the best riding conditions in years. VAST says next year snowmobilers will be able toMore >>
    Today marks the end of the snowmobile season. The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers reports a banner year with the best riding conditions in years. VAST says next year snowmobilers will be able toMore >>
  • A big honor for a Burlington teen

    A big honor for a Burlington teen

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:06 AM EDT2014-04-16 05:06:26 GMT
    16-year-old Yusuf Abdi was named 2014 Vermont Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year. He received the award during a celebration at the State House today. Judges called him extraordinary for his age, articulate,More >>
    16-year-old Yusuf Abdi was named 2014 Vermont Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year. He received the award during a celebration at the State House today.More >>
  • Blood donor honored for his contributions

    Blood donor honored for his contributions

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:04 AM EDT2014-04-16 05:04:54 GMT
    There are your average blood donors who might give once or twice a year and then there is Frank Sklenarik. He's donated 140 units or 17-and-half gallons of blood since becoming a donor in 1996. Today theMore >>
    There are your average blood donors who might give once or twice a year and then there is Frank Sklenarik. He's donated 140 units or 17-and-half gallons of blood since becoming a donor in 1996. Today theMore >>
  • Weather rollercoaster wreaks havoc across the state

    Weather rollercoaster wreaks havoc across the state

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-04-16 04:07:42 GMT
    Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow. Rivers are spilling their banks, roadsMore >>
    Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow.More >>
  • Rutland mom caught stealing Easter goodies

    Rutland mom caught stealing Easter goodies

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 1:07 AM EDT2014-04-16 05:07:35 GMT
    A Rutland mom is busted for stealing goodies for her child's Easter basket.  22-year-old Monica Barker pleaded guilty to swiping about $70 in merchandise from Wal-mart. Police say most of the stolen itemsMore >>
    A Rutland mom is busted for stealing goodies for her child's Easter basket.  22-year-old Monica Barker pleaded guilty to swiping about $70 in merchandise from Wal-mart. Police say most of the stolen itemsMore >>
  • Warnings about rising rivers across our region

    Warnings about rising rivers across our region

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:08 PM EDT2014-04-16 00:08:37 GMT
    Flood warnings are in effect around our region as heavy rains begin to move through. There is already localized flooding at some of the typical problem spots, like the wrong-way bridge on Route 15 inMore >>
    Parts of our region are already flooding and others are bracing as heavy rains move through. Not only is rain falling fast, but warm temperatures Monday melted snow, adding to high waters.More >>
  • Man rescued from Black River in Springfield

    Man rescued from Black River in Springfield

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:06:00 GMT
    A man had to be pulled from the Black River in Springfield Tuesday morning. The Hartford Fire Department says it's working to pull a man out from the river. They say he got stuck about 75 feet out inMore >>
    Vermont emergency workers have rescued a man stranded in the middle of a treacherous section of river in downtown Springfield.
    More >>
  • NH agrees Vt. man was insane during killing

    NH agrees Vt. man was insane during killing

    Tuesday, April 15 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-15 18:49:26 GMT
    A Vermont man charged with stabbing a stranger to death in the lobby of a New Hampshire hotel last year will plead not guilty by reason of insanity.More >>
    A Vermont man charged with stabbing a stranger to death in the lobby of a New Hampshire hotel last year will plead not guilty by reason of insanity.More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.