PITTSFORD — The latest addition to the Pittsford Trail Network is its most difficult.
Not that the others are all that tough, said Baird Morgan, a Pittsford resident who, with the help of a few others, is largely responsible for the creation of the town’s 15 miles of trails.
The trail network has been about 40 years in the making, Morgan said. Goat Farm Trail, the newest stretch, officially opened last weekend. The trail can be found on the east side of Goat Farm Road. According to Morgan, the road itself isn’t well marked, but the trailhead is.
One of the easier ways to find it is to head east on Oxbow Road, which is off Route 7, then take a left onto Adams Road. Goat Farm Road will be on the right, opposite Furnace Brook Road. The Goat Farm Trail isn’t far down, and there’s a sign for it.
Morgan said that he and fellow Pittsford resident Bob Harnish have been leading efforts behind the Pittsford Trail Network, along with a group of volunteers.
Harnish said Wednesday that Goat Farm Trail is the second trail leading up to Bald Peak. It’s more of a mountain hike than other trails in the network, but it offers fantastic views of the Otter Valley to the north and south.
Morgan and Harnish said they’ve been surprised to learn the trails draw people from all around the area and beyond, not just Pittsford. Harnish said one trail goes through his property and he often greets people using it, finding out they drove there from Rutland to walk. The trails draw out-of-state visitors, too, said Harnish.
At least 80% of the Pittsford Trail Network is on private land, said Morgan. He and Harnish began approaching landowners with old roads and wood trails on their property and found many quite receptive to hosting a trail. Morgan said landowners with trails in the network are protected from legal liability, within reason, through state law.
Like the other trails in the Pittsford network, Goat Farm Trail wasn’t cut fresh through the woods — it had been there for some time, said Morgan. Before he began working on it, it led to the “ice caves,” a cave on Bald Peak where ice remains well into August. Before it gets there, the trail goes over some fairly rocky terrain. Morgan said the town Select Board nixed this plan, owing to the danger. The current version of Goat Farm Trail, he said, goes around the rocky area and up to the overlooks. Morgan said most of the network’s trails can be maintained through mowing. A few require chainsaw work in the springtime to clear downed trees. He and Harnish manage much of it, but are grateful for volunteers.
Maps and information about the trails in the Pittsford network can be found on the town website, http://trails.pittsfordvermont.com/.