VHCB awards grant to fund new hiking trail in Dummerston

DUMMERSTON — The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board awarded a $116,000 grant to the Putney Mountain Association to fund land conservation and a trail in Dummerston.

The Missing Link Project will create six to eight miles of new trail from Prospect Hill in Dummerston to the Putney-Dummerston town line where it will connect to the trail network on Putney Mountain and north along the Windmill Ridgeline.

The project, led by local volunteers in cooperation with six Dummerston families, will provide expanded recreational opportunities including hiking, snow shoeing, biking, hunting and other activities as the terrain and trail conditions allow.

The new trail will have glimpses of Mt. Monadnock to the east and Haystack and Mount Snow to the west. It passes through an old sugar bush and a 175-year-old hemlock forest. A main tributary of Falls Brook provides a pathway and year-round water for wildlife.

Two parcels along the route will be purchased by the Putney Mountain Association and preserved by a Vermont Land Trust conservation easement. Totaling 55 acres, the two parcels form a critical wildlife corridor linking two 225-acre forest blocks.

They are the only undeveloped parcels in this densely-settled area of Dummerston and are a recognized by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department as the highest priority for conservation.

A public presentation about the Missing Links Project will take place on Wednesday, March 18, at 7 p.m. at the Dummerston Congregational Church, 1535 Middle Rd. in Dummerston Center.

Tom Wessels, a conservation biologist at Antioch University, will be the featured speaker. The author of “Reading the Forested Landscape,” Wessels will talk about “Connections: Nature's Most Important Attribute,” with the Missing Links Project serving as a prime example of building these connections.

For more information on the Missing Links Project or Wessels's talk, contact PMA Trustee Richard Fletcher at 802-387-6017 or [email protected], or visit Putneymountain.org.

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