On June 13 2013, at The Ponds at Bolton Valley, Governor Shumlin was handed the property deed of the 1,144 acres of land that host the Bolton Nordic and Backcountry trails today. The land is now successfully purchased, conserved and transferred to the State of Vermont as an addition to the Mt. Mansfield State Forest.
Only 15 months earlier, Nordic and backcountry skiers at Bolton were pondering a future where we could no longer enjoy bluebird days climbing up to the cabin and swooshing down George's Gorge.
Thankfully, dedicated volunteers scrambled to make calls and the fledgling Friends of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry was formed. Public interest in the project was high and 200 people eventually joined the group.
Meetings were held, and VLT agreed to start a major campaign to raise the money needed to purchase the land and build the partnerships needed to transfer the land to the State.
Here's just some of what it took to raise 1,200 gifts totaling $1.85 million:
Scenes from the Campaign
View the embedded image gallery online at:
We can't thank people enough for all they've done to make this happen!
In February of 2011, the public learned that the majority of the Bolton Valley Nordic and backcountry trails were to be sold to a private individual, and public access to the land would be lost.
In two months, the Friends of Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry formed to protect the land and the public's access to it.
With the outpouring of support, the Vermont Land Trust signed a contract to purchase more than 1,100 acres that host the Bolton Valley Nordic and backcountry trails.
Over a period of 15 months, the community raised $1.85 million. This spring, the Vermont Land Trust purchased and conserved the land, which was then transferred to the state as an addition to Mt. Mansfield State Forest.
Wildlife and Natural Resource Protection
The Bolton Valley Nordic and Backcountry property is part of an important wildlife habitat connection between two large blocks of state land: Mt. Mansfield State Forest and Camel's Hump State Park.
It includes the majority of the headwaters and much of the watershed of Joiner Brook, which feeds into the Winooski River.
The Bolton Valley lands were identified as the highest priority for conservation by the partners in the Chittenden County Uplands Conservation project—a community conservation effort that has protected 8,000 acres in 10 years.
Unparalleled Outdoor Recreation
With over 90 kilometers of groomed and backcountry trails, Bolton Valley is one of the three largest Nordic trail systems in Vermont. See trails map.
The property is easily accessible to Vermont's largest population center, located just 40 minutes from Burlington.
The base elevation is the highest of any Nordic center in Vermont, extending both ends of the season for winter users.
The Catamount Trail runs through the property and there are connections to other popular backcountry routes including Trapp Family Lodge, Mt. Mansfield State Forest, Underhill State Park, and Little River State Park.
A Community Gathering Place
Many public schools, colleges, and universities use the land for outing club events, outdoor education, and ski racing and training.
Currently, the property is the practice area for several ski teams and clubs, including Essex and Burlington High Schools, Northwest Vermont Nordic Ski Club, and UVM's top-ranked Nordic team.
The variety of terrain and trails offers recreational access to all ability levels and ages.
The land and trail systems are heavily used for community, nonprofit, and fundraising events.
The trails have been maintained by community volunteers led by the "Old Goats," dating back to the late Gardiner Lane's leadership in the 1970s. Volunteers number 30 to 50 throughout the fall months.
© 2014 Vermont Land Trust | All rights reserved.