Popular hiking trail to receive significant improvements to hold up against increased hiker traffic and increasing precipitation due to climate change
Keegan Tierney, Director of Field Programs at Green Mountain Club, [email protected]
Kathryn Wrigley, Forest Recreation Specialist, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation, [email protected]
Waterbury Center, VT — The Green Mountain Club (GMC) announces the largest trail rehabilitation at one of Vermont’s most popular hiking destinations will begin this summer. In partnership with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR), GMC will participate in a top-to-bottom rehabilitation of the Burrows Trail in Camel’s Hump State Park. This effort is made possible with unprecedented investments from the State of Vermont in stewardship of outdoor recreation assets .
While the project costs upwards of a three quarters of a million dollars, $460,000 is already secured. GMC is receiving $210,000 from FPR’s Enhancement of Recreation Stewardship and Access (ERSA) trail grant program and FPR is contributing $250,000 from a one-time allocation of State general funds designated specifically for outdoor recreation enhancements. GMC is seeking additional private funds to complete the project. The Green Mountain Club, Vermont State Trail Crew, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Northwoods Stewardship Center, and National Civilian Conservation Corps will provide the on-the-ground trail crews for the rehabilitation that will start in June 2022 and continue for the next three years.
The Burrows Trail, formerly known as the Huntington Trail, has been used as a footpath for over 100 years. Today, it is one of Vermont’s most popular day hikes, winding 2.1 miles before intersecting with the Long Trail to access Camel’s Hump summit at 4,083 feet – the highest undeveloped summit in Vermont. Just a 45-minute drive from the state’s population center of Burlington, tens of thousands of Vermonters and visitors hike the Burrows Trail each year.
“The Burrows Trail is a jewel in the crown of Vermont’s outdoor recreation offerings, but climate change impacts, heavy use, and outdated trail design mean the trail is now severely widened and eroded. GMC, along with partner trail crews, will restore the entire trail to be more sustainable, narrow, and durable, allowing thousands of hikers to enjoy it for decades to come,” said Keegan Tierney, Director of Field Programs for the Green Mountain Club.
Lower sections of the trail follow an old forest road and the upper portion was built decades ago on the “fall line” or straight up the hillside resulting in severe erosion and widening from both water flow and foot traffic. Trail crews and volunteer groups will utilize sustainable trail building strategies and structures to completely revitalize the trail using natural materials from the surrounding environment.
“This is an unprecedented investment in the trail infrastructure of one of Vermont’s most-visited hiking trails, and our all-in approach will protect the trail from the increasing impact of climate change, sustain high foot traffic use, and maintain the semi-primitive experience of hiking in Camel’s Hump State Park,” explained Kathryn Wrigley, Forest Recreation Specialist for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.
Funding is secured for 70 weeks of trail crew work spread over three field seasons. Trail work is manual labor that involves using hand tools and natural materials. Crews must be trained in highly skilled rock work techniques to create natural yet durable trail structures that will hold up for decades. The planned scope of work is ambitious, with 300 individually identified sites along the trail to be improved or upgraded.
Crews will break ground on the project in June. The Burrows Trail will remain open to hikers throughout the project, though hikers are advised to be aware of trail crew traffic control when passing through work sites.
About the Green Mountain Club
Established in 1910 to build the Long Trail, the Green Mountain Club is a private non-profit organization with over 9,800 members. The GMC is dedicated to maintaining, managing, and protecting Vermont’s historic Long Trail, Appalachian Trail, and the Kingdom Heritage Trails in the Northeast Kingdom, and advocating for hiking opportunities in Vermont. Every year more than 1,000 volunteers work so that future generations will enjoy the 500-mile Long Trail System. Learn more and become a member at greenmountainclub.org
About Forests, Parks, and Recreation
The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) is responsible for the conservation and management of Vermont’s forest resources, the operation and maintenance of the State Park system, and the promotion and support of outdoor recreation for Vermonters and our visitors. For more information, visit www.fpr.vermont.gov