Popular Vt. hiking trail has new look after summer renovations
HUNTINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The first season of upgrading a popular trail on Camel’s Hump wraps up this week.
The 2.1-mile-long rocky and steep Burrows Trail is one of the most-hiked trails in Vermont. The main focus of the upgrades was to make the trail narrower and create different variations of steps to make the trail sustainable for the long haul and make for a smoother hike.
More than a dozen people have been living and working on the Burrows Trail this summer and fall as the first of three seasons dedicated to sprucing up the trail comes to a close.
One of the most notable upgrades longtime hikers might notice is the wooden and stone stairs.
“We’re actually sourcing our rocks from way off the trail so that we don’t disturb the fragile mosses here. We’re transporting them with a highline system,” said Justin Towers with the Green Mountain Club, the trail restoration coordinator. He says crews have put in more than 200 steps. They’re working on their construction from the top down because the top is the most gullied part.
Adding steps makes the trail a bit less technical for hikers of all ages who come to the Burrows Trail, but it’s also part of a plan to improve the way water flows through the trail, which has gotten wider and wider since the COVID pandemic drove more people outside.
“All those water infrastructures, those water bars, and those staircases and those stepping stones that were intended to help you get through muddy spots or across the stream, etc., are no longer the right size for the trail,” said Kathryn Wrigley of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.
The Green Mountain Club says there are 117 areas of excessive width on the trail. Wrigley says in recent years, the trail widened from 2 feet wide to 6 feet to 10 feet wide in some areas.
Other trail maintenance includes adding brush to the shoulders as a natural way to make the trail narrow again.
“The goal of this project is to both make a really great rehab to for like climate resiliency and natural resource management that visitor experience of you’re kind of in the woods having this great experience versus seeing like a ten foot wide,” said Wrigley.
The project is $750,000 with most of that secured so far through grants and other funds.
The last day people will be working on the trail for this inaugural season is Wednesday. They will start back up again in the spring.
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