Section of the Catamount Trail conserved
Staff Report | December 13,2009
LOWELL — Nearly fiv5e consecutive miles of the Catamount Trail are now protected in Lowell.
Thanks to the support of landowners David Stackpole and Ed French, who recently helped protect 3 miles of the trail, a protected corridor roughly 5 miles long now runs from the top of the Lowell Mountains to Lowell Village.
At 300 miles in length and spanning the state of Vermont from bottom to top, the Catamount Trail is one of Vermont's treasured gems.
It is a public cross-country ski trail that has been in the making since 1984 and was fully linked together in 2008.
The Catamount Trail Association is working to permanently protect the entire 300-mile trail corridor by obtaining trail access easements.
As it heads north towards Lowell, the Catamount Trail climbs to the top of the Lowell Mountains on the historic Bayley-Hazen Road.
It then descends through working forestland and into a broad meadow with spectacular views of Jay Peak.
This 1.4-mile section of the Trail is now protected through a long term license agreement between the Catamount Trail Association and the Dyer-Dunn Corp., represented by French.
The Berthiaume Farm Partnership, represented by Stackpole, donated a 1.4-mile trail easement to the Catamount Trail Association to protect an adjacent section of the Trail.
As the Trail continues north for about 1.8 miles between Route 58 and Lowell Village, skiers glide downhill to Lowell Village on land conserved by the Vermont Land Trust and protected by an easement former Governor Howard Dean donated to the Catamount Trail Association in 2001.
"I've had the good fortune to enjoy a large tract of land on the west slope of the Lowell Mountain Range for 40 years. Although my active participation in cross-country skiing is now somewhat limited, I still think of it as one of the best all round outdoor recreations," Stackpole said.
"I feel that the privilege I have had in overseeing the stewardship of these properties can easily be expanded to protect the backcountry experience for those who seek it on skis or snowshoes, and the Trail is really much better on its own route apart from the snowmobile corridor. We have always welcomed hunters and hikers and this is just a step towards assuring the enjoyment of some very good people." Stackpole said.
After deciding to donate the easement on the northern parcel, Stackpole talked to his neighbors to the south and helped CTA protect both parcels.
"The Catamount Trail is about community on many levels. When our landowners share their values and enthusiasm with one another, we can really make progress towards our protection goals. This is a model for how our work of protecting the remaining sections of the Trail can and will get done," said Amy Kelsey, CTA trail management and protection director.
Stackpole said he hopes other landowners on the Catamount Trail will catch the spirit of protecting the trail for future generations.
"I'm a lawyer and I felt the Catamount Trail Association paperwork was well crafted, and flexible enough to accommodate my concerns for our continuing activities. We log, cut firewood, hay in the summer. Their documents allow for change, if the need arises, with minimum effort. If any other land owners would like to talk to me about any of this I would be pleased to do so."
The CTA first began holding easements on its own in April 1995. A variety of easement models have been developed and are modified to meet each landowner's need while ensuring a high-quality and safe ski experience on the Catamount Trail.
For more information contact:
Amy Kelsey, Catamount Trail Association - 802-864-5794, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.catamounttrail.org