New hiking trail opens in Dummerston

DUMMERSTON — The Putney Mountain Association (PMA) and the Vermont Land Trust recently announced the opening of a new hiking trail in Dummerston.

According to a news release, the PMA said its recently completed fundraising effort “brought a hearty response which allows PMA to purchase two parcels of undeveloped land in Dummerston; we have closed on one and are targeting closing on the second by the end of the year. The new trails go through those properties.”

A conservation easement protecting the two new properties will be jointly held by the Vermont Land Trust and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, which provided a grant for the project.

In addition, funding was provided by the Fields Pond Foundation and the Davis Conservation Fund, as well as more than 200 private donations.

Several public-spirited neighbors have provided easements that will allow the trail to extend south to Prospect Hill and north toward Putney.

For now, the 4.4-mile loop starts at the trailhead at the end of Hague Road and gently climbs through the hardwood forest to the high land, passing several vistas opening to an expansive southern view.

An extension of the loop runs through the hemlocks and ends at Vermont's second-largest ash tree.

Also from the trailhead, a 2.4-mile round trip section goes south to a high point on the former King parcel. The entire trail, laid out by Roger Haydock, was built by a crew of hardy local volunteers who worked through the summer, completing the last stretch in late October.

Trail building will resume in the spring. Depending on weather and volunteer help along the way, the full trail to Prospect Hill should be complete by fall 2021.

This trail is one section of the Missing Links project, based on what the organizations describe as a “long-held dream of connecting Prospect Hill to the extended trail system of PMA and the Windmill Hill Pinnacle Association.”

The project has visions for the future: Black Mountain and the West River Trail are on the horizon. In the meantime, a hiker can stay on trails connecting Prospect Hill in Dummerston to Bald Hill in Grafton.

If you would like to help, contact Richard Fletcher at 802-387-6017 or [email protected].

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