A section of the Valley Trail. (Chris Mays/Reformer)
A section of the Valley Trail. (Chris Mays/Reformer)
Wednesday May 15, 2013

WILMINGTON -- There's been a lot of progress on connecting hiking trails between Dover and Wilmington, which is something that both towns' Selectboards and the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce have been pushing for.

"The priority for the Trails Committee is to try to get the new foot bridge from West Main Street to go out to the Green Mountain Power building at the first section of the Valley Trail," said Wilmington Selectboard member Jake White.

He said the foot bridge, to be located behind Nito's Automotive Repair, would attract people to both the trails and the downtown village. It was donated to the town by Barry Reardon and is set to be unveiled on June 1, also known as Trails Day. Reardon is going to be doing most of the work of putting the bridge into place.

On May 9, the Selectboard was given an update of where the trails are at. Major progress has been done on connecting trail systems between Dover and Wilmington. However, the trails that the bridge will connect with are still not completely open to the public.

"We still need a couple of permission slips before we can say that people can walk on it," said White.

The Wilmington Trail Committee is waiting on permission from three landowners before opening it up to the public. One of the more difficult aspects of this has been getting permission from people who own land but no home on property that the committee wants for its trail systems.

There is a Bi-Town Trail Committee made up of Dover and Wilmington Trail Committee members, who are working together to put in a trail by the footbridge that will connect the towns.

This trail will go towards Chimney Hill out to Forbush Road. Then it will take hikers out to a dead end, where they will likely follow power lines that go to the Haystack ski area and gatehouse nearby.

"It's mostly a wilderness trail. It's not a paved path or anything in that line," said White. "It's just a hiking trail."

That trail doesn't need much maintenance and White said 95 percent of the property owners have granted permission to use their land.

If all the permission slips come in, the Wilmington Trail Committee decided it will have to build a small bridge to cross one of the rivers. Some other minor cutting and clearing will have to be done as well.

"Sometimes if we don't get permission, we try to find a way to go around it," said White. "Most people are very cooperative, once you explain what is going on."

White mentioned that Haystack Owner and Hermitage Founder Jim Barnes will be improving the trails near Haystack this summer. Right now, the trails aren't open but people still hike in that area.

The Trails Committee is hopeful that the trails by the new foot bridge will be ready by June 1.

"Once we get it established, we have to use signage on it," said White. "It's fairly obvious where to stay but there are always sections you want to make sure are on the trail system outline."

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.