Deep in the woods of Bolton, a transformation is about to take root along the Long Trail.
"Well without the bridge we can't cross the river, any other way has involved roads, or row boats or things like that," said The Green Mountain Club's Dave Hardy.
Monday a huge crowd gathered on the banks of the Winooski RIver to break ground on a new steel cable suspension bridge that will span the waterway. "We've been looking to move the trail into the woods and off of the roads specifically for the last 25 years, but it's a culmination of 103 years of stringing the Long Trail across the Winooski Valley since the first piece of the Long Trail was cut," Hardy said.
Organizers say the 224 foot span will serve as the linchpin to the Winooski Valley Long Trail relocation.
"This is great for tourism, it's great for Vermonters who like to hike and be outdoors -- the Long Trail is one of our great resources," said Governor Peter Shumlin.
The project comes with a price tag of roughly $1.6 million dollars -- about a million of which, generations of members from the Green Mountain Club have raised on their own. It's an effort former Governor and long-time outdoorsman Howard Dean has supported for years. He cited the Long Trail as part of what makes Vermont special. "First of all it is pretty unspoiled. Second of all, the views are spectacular. It runs along the spine of the Green Mountains where the parkway would have gone had George Aiken not said no," Dean said.
They're spectacular, unspoiled views many hope will continue as this new bridge comes to life. "I am not standing on any pavement. I am in the woods where I want to be -- on the Long Trail," Hardy said.
Construction on the new structure is slated to formally begin in the next few weeks.
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