Tuesday July 23, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The members of the Brattleboro Conservation Commission know that sometimes you have to scramble over obstacles, sweat a little and keep moving forward to achieve your goal.

What starts as a simple and humble hike can often drag on into an exhausting day-long marathon, but the payoff is often worth all of the effort.

So it is in that spirit that the Conservation Commission is releasing its new trail map and guide to the public walks available in Brattleboro.

The Conservation Commission has published about 3,000 maps that are available in the Town Clerk's office and which will be distributed around town in the coming weeks.

They are free.

The commission worked on the map for a year-and-a-half and co-chairman Peter Gaskill says that while it took a little longer than originally thought, the new map was worth the wait.

"It was a slow methodical process," Gaskill said. "This is a volunteer board, and we had other issues to deal with. It took a while, but we just kept moving forward."

The new map features 11 trail systems around the Brattleboro area, including the walk up Wantastiquet Mountain, the trails at Fort Dummer Park and the walks through the Delta Campus near the Guilford town line.

The guide also contains trail descriptions with mileage and clear descriptions of how to find the trailheads off of town roads.


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Former Conservation Commission Chairman Drew Adams was instrumental in starting the project, Gaskill said.

Various members of the Conservation Commission walked every part of the more than 25 miles of trail that are featured in the map and guide, and Gaskill said they were able to get a fresh perspective on many of the well-known trails in town, knowing they would be introducing some of them to people.

The commission has plans to make the map and guide available electronically and in the future, he said, the trail descriptions and maps will be updated as situations change.

Gaskill points out that the new map should be helpful for long time residents, visitors and people who are moving to the area.

"I've been living in Brattleboro for 20 years, and it took me eight or nine years to learn where to go," Gaskill said. "Our goal was to create a map for people to follow so they can learn where to go. We wanted to make sure people know they don't have to drive out of town to enjoy the outdoors. There is plenty to do right here."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.