Dummerston looks to guide hikers
DUMMERSTON -- From strenuous hikes to easy strolls, Dummerston Conservation Commission has compiled a list of the top places to walk in town.
Aided by a $600 grant from the Association of Vermont Conservation Commissions, local commission members say the new brochure and map meets a need for public information while also furthering the organization's goals.
"Our mission is to get people to be outside and use these resources, because that leads to protecting these resources," commission member Lynn Levine said.
The guide, titled "Dummerston Walks & Trails," is available for free at the Dummerston town office and online at www.dummerstonconservation.com.
Levine said the project began earlier this year due to two requests: First, local businesswoman Beverly Kenney asked the conservation commission for a comprehensive guide to local hikes.
"I had put a list together of trails in the area on my own, and it would be very nice to have one for Dummerston," recalled Kenney, who owns Brattleboro North KOA Campground. "It's basically out of need for my customers."
Soon after that discussion, Levine said, "a grant proposal arrived from the Association of Conservation Commissions. They're called tiny grants."
The commission applied for and received an association grant while also receiving financial support from Brattleboro North KOA and from Scott Farm. Members then "sort of brainstormed what the walks were in town," Levine said, and she proceeded to travel around Dummerston to map those points.
The project also included some historical research, "so it's not just people looking at a map, but they would also know something about it," Levine said.
For example, the nine walks include Prospect Hill Town Forest (Blueberry Hill). Along with giving walkers a way to find what's classified as a "strenuous hike," the brochure also notes that the land was donated to the town in 1974 and includes views of Mt. Monadnock and Mt. Snow.
Also included is detailed information about Black Mountain, known for its unusual geology; the West River Trail, a hiking and biking path that follows the bed of the former West River Railroad; and Dutton Pines State Park, which features several structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.
Also included in the brochure is the Dummerston Quarry, Falls Brook, West Dummerston Covered Bridge, Old Jelly Mill Falls and Elysian Hills Tree Farm.
Compiling the brochure was an educational experience even for Levine, who has outdoor expertise and has been a Dummerston resident for 35 years. Before this project, "I didn't know at all about the Falls Brook trail," she noted.
While the map-project grant from the Association of Conservation Commissions was relatively small, Levine said such grants are vitally important for volunteer organizations.
"It sparks and helps -- it doesn't take a lot sometimes to bring something to fruition," Levine said. "We never would have done this without getting that spark."
Kenney is glad the project is finished, and she said customers already are picking up the new brochures from her campground store off Route 5.
"They like them," she said. "Even some regulars who have been coming here for many years, they're noticing things they didn't know about."
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275. Follow him on Twitter @MikeReformer.
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