View of Bluffside Farm in Newport

Newport’s Bluffside Farm

Since we purchased Bluffside Farm, we have opened the land up to public recreation for the first time. We have worked with a local ski group to extend their network of ski trails on the farm. We have held a deer hunting lottery for the past three years.The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps is using some of the farmland to grow vegetables for the local hospital, while the hayland is being leased to a dairy farmer. School kids are using the land to learn about topics such as forest management and maple sugaring.

Latest news: Public input wanted!

Oct. 2019: Thank you for meeting us at the Oct. 17 public input session. We appreciate your questions about the Bluffside Farm trail connector, and we hope to keep the conversation going. You can watch the meeting, review participants’ questions, and take a closer look at the presentation here.

Oct. 2019. We’re excited to start work on the new trail that will result in a seven-mile, car-free recreational trail connecting downtown Newport with trails in Canada. Before we get going, we’re welcoming public input at the Newport Recreation Committee meeting on October 17, 5:30 pm. The meeting will be held in the Newport Municipal Building in the Council Room. Please find background for the proposed project, meeting details, and the concept plans here.

Sept. 2019. The hunting lottery for the 2019 season is now open. Archery will be allowed during October 19-November 1, November 16-December 1, and/or December 7-15 for winning applicants. Please find more information and applications here.

May 2019. We’re working on a recreation trail through the farm that will connect the trail from downtown Newport with the Beebe Spur rail trail that goes all the way to trails in Canada. Currently, trail users have to use traveled roads to get from one of these trails to the other. With a $425,000 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission and additional funds raised with the help of many partners and Newport supporters, we were able to raise the full $1.2 million needed for the project. Thank you to all of our supporters!

The trail project is a huge undertaking. It even involves building a bridge! But the trail will have far-reaching benefits for Newport, as a tourist draw for the city and its businesses and as great place for residents to get outside and enjoy the lake. With the new section of trail downtown, this last stretch of trail will be the final connection needed to create a seven-mile, car-free recreation path.

This year Hamlin Consulting Engineers was hired as Project Manager after a competitive Request for Qualifications process that included a local selection team. Vice President Benjamin Heath, a graduate of North Country Union High School, is the lead from Hamlin and will take us through the final engineering, permitting, and construction phases to completion.

Backstory on the farm

In December 2015, the Vermont Land Trust bought Bluffside Farm, a former dairy located on Lake Memphremagog. It has farmland, woodland, and a large natural sand beach. The land trust then held a community-visioning process, including many public meetings and farm tours. Three priorities emerged: recreation, farming, and nature. Learn more about the farm and VLT’s work there:

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VLT
Facts
593,000+
Total acres
protected
720+
Farms using
conserved land
420,000
Acres of
forestland
170
Recreation
spots
60
Miles
Catamount Trail
460
Miles
VAST Trail
2,500+
Properties
protected