Newport’s Bluffside 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.
Since it has owned the farm, VLT has 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 two 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 dairy farmer.
School kids are using the land to learn about topics such as forest management and maple sugaring.
Now, we are working hard to create a recreation trail through the farm that would 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 travelled roads to get between these two trails.
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.
In 2017, we were awarded a $425,000 grant from the Northern Border Regional Commission to build the trail. However, the grant must be matched in full by September 2018, or the money will be lost.
We are hopeful that this valuable project will be funded and that Bluffside Farm will be the key that creates a seven-mile car-free trail along the lake, connecting the city to Canada.
Learn more about the farm and VLT’s work there:
- Public access guidelines
- How this project came to be.
- Where is Bluffside Farm? Map showing general location.
- Where are the ski trails? PDF map.
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