VAST ANNOUNCES RAIL TRAIL CAPITAL CAMPAIGN

  • By Beth Godin
  • 17 Apr, 2017

PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - April 14, 2017


Contact: Don Balcom
Telephone: 802-498-8356
Email: don@vtvast.org
Website: http://lvrt.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LamoilleValleyRailTrail  

Barre, VT, April 14, 2017– The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST), a 501(c) (3) organization, is launching a three million dollar capital campaign for the continued redevelopment Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT). When completed, the trail, extending 93 miles from St. Johnsbury to Swanton, will be the longest rail trail in New England. As a year-round recreational corridor, it serves walkers and runners, bicyclists, snowmobilers, horseback riders, cross country skiers and mushers. VAST Executive Director Cindy Locke believes that the trail is going to be the top four-season recreation destination in Vermont when it is completed. In addition to its recreational amenities, the LVRT will be a powerful economic engine for the 18 towns along its route.

Since 1997, VAST has partnered with the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) in using the abandoned railroad right-of-way as a snowmobile trail. In 2005, federal funding was secured to begin construction of a multi-purpose trail. About a third of the trail has been completed with a 15-mile section from St. Johnsbury to West Danville and a 17-mile stretch from Morrisville to Jeffersonville in the town of Cambridge is now open. Response to the new trail is overwhelmingly positive both by users and businesses along the corridor.

Four more sections of the trail remain to be completed at an estimated cost of $10-$15 million. This year, a dilapidated railroad bridge over the Lamoille River in Cambridge (known as Bridge 68) will be replaced with a new 300’ recreation span. In addition, a one-mile section of the Cambridge Greenway will be reworked to be aligned with the LVRT and extend the trail from its current terminus to the new bridge. In the spring of 2018, construction will begin on the 12-mile section from Swanton through Sheldon, with completion by the fall of next year.

This past winter, VTrans and VAST renewed their partnership agreement under which VAST leases the rail corridor, oversees construction activities and maintains the completed portions of the LVRT. VTrans has committed to seeking up to 80 percent of the funding needed to finish the LVRT: the 18.4 mile stretch from Sheldon to Cambridge; 19.5 miles from Morrisville to Greensboro; and the 10.9 miles from Greensboro to West Danville. These funds will come through the federal railbanking program created under the National Trails Act.

The new capital campaign will seek funding from individuals, local businesses, foundations and municipalities. Most of the funds raised by the campaign will be for construction, but some will be allocated for ongoing trail maintenance. Last August, VAST hired Don Balcom of South Burlington, a 25-year veteran non-profit fundraiser, to serve as Campaign Manager. The campaign is scheduled to last until the end of 2018. If sufficient funds are secured, the entire trail will be completed two or three years later.

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If you would like more information, please contact Don Balcom at 802-498-8356 or email at don@vtvast.org.


News & Events

By Don Balcom 15 Jul, 2017

On Friday, July 14th several people gathered on the Mt. Vernon Street Bridge in St. Johnsbury to celebrate the bank’s support of the LVRT project. Passumpsic was the first corporate supporter of the conversion of the old railroad line to a 4-season multi-purpose recreational trail. A new bronze plaque (shown above) has been installed on the bridge.

 The event was hosted by Cindy Locke, VAST Executive Director. She thanked the bank for helping get the project launched in 2013 with a groundbreaking ceremony kicking off construction of the trail’s 15 mile easternmost section. Cindy introduced bank president James Kisch who extolled the LVRT’s multiple community and regional benefits.

Senator Jane Kitchel of Danville, Vice Chair of the Senate Transportation Department, also spoke about the importance of the LVRT -- owned by all Vermont residents. Erica Campbell, a member of the Outreach Staff in the Office of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, read a letter from the senator. St. Johnsbury was represented by Town Manager Chad Whitehead and Vice Chair of the Danville Selectboard, Ken Linsley also attended.

 

By Don Balcom 29 Jun, 2017

Barre, VT, June 27, 2017– The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST), is hosting a bridge dedication with Passumpsic Savings Bank at the Mount Vernon Street Bridge in St. Johnsbury on Friday July 14, 2017 at 10:30am. This is a proud moment for all of those involved with converting the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) into what will become Vermont’s top four-season recreation and heritage destination. We hope community members will join us. This event is being held to thank Passumpsic Savings Bank for its early commitment to this important project that will affect so many communities in Vermont.

By Shane Prisby 26 Jun, 2017
As of 9 pm on Saturday, June 24, VTrans officially reopened the LVRT under the 2B bridge.The public is free to resume use of the trail.The old bridge has been replaced with a new steel pipe arch (above) similar to the one under I-91.  There contractor will be on-site doing clean-up work through the week so remember to be alert and follow all instructions.
By Don Balcom 21 Jun, 2017

Last week Gov, Phil Scott announced the creation of the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaorative, a panel of state officials, business owners and non-profit leaders. To learn more about the VOREC see
https://vtdigger.org/2017/06/15/task-force-draw-attention-outdoor-recreation-vermont/

 LVRT Project Manager Shane Prisby was appointed to the 15-member task force. Shane joined the VAST staff in 2015 and is responsible for overseeing construction and maintenance of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. The VOREC is an effort to bolster economic activity around outdoor recreation in Vermont.

 Our goal is to make the LVRT the #1 year-round tourist attraction in the state of Vermont. With one third of the trail completed, it is already benefitting our local economy by attracting tourists and outdoor recreation enthusiasts from outside the state, as well as from other countries.

By Shane Prisby 06 Jun, 2017
While the warmer weather means more opportunities to get outside, it also means more chances of encountering ticks. Ticks are most active during the warmer months of the year and can potentially carry diseases such as Anaplasmosis or Lyme disease. While ticks are primarily found in brushy areas with high grasses, it is important to stay vigilant and check yourself, your children, and your pets after every excursion outdoors.

Prevention is always the best safeguard. Wearing lightly colored long pants and long sleeves will help keep ticks off your skin and help you spot them quickly. Additionally, you can pre-treat your clothing with permethrin (do not use directly on skin or spray on clothing while wearing them) or use an EPA-registered insect repellent with up to 30% DEET. If you do find an embedded tick, it is important to remove it quickly and completely with fine tipped tweezers or a purpose-specific tick removal device. When all parts of the tick have been removed completely, dispose of the tick by flushing it down the toilet, putting it in alcohol, or sealing it lightly in tape. Wash your hands and the bite area with soap and water. Monitor the bite area and pay attention for any potential symptoms of illness such as fever, joint pains, fatigue, or rash. Know that not everyone develops these symptoms which can take 3-30 days to appear if at all. If you develop symptoms or have questions or concerns, contact your health care provider.

Below are some additional resources to learn how best to prevent and respond to tick bites. Remember to stay safe out there and have fun!

https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/index.html

http://www.healthvermont.gov/disease-control/mosquito-tick-zoonotic
By Don Balcom 04 Jun, 2017
Vermont Gives Day of Giving is an initiative of the Common Good Vermont designed to raise awareness about how essential nonprofits are to our quality of life. VT Gives is a 24­-hour online challenge to support our local nonprofits and to amplify the generosity of Vermont citizens. 

This  Wednesday and Thursday visit  https://www.vermontgives.org/organizations/vermont-association-of-snow-travelers  and make a donation to help us build a new Bridge 68 in Cambridge Junction and plan for the next new section of the LVRT from Swanton to Sheldon Junction. 

Your support will be appreciated as we work together to complete New England's longest rail trail.

By Don Balcom 29 May, 2017
Earlier this month work began on replacing the dilapidated railroad bridge across the Lamoille River near Jeffersonville with a new two-span recreational bridge.  The photo above looking southeast  toward Mt. Mansfield shows the remaining section of the old bridge that is being removed and (on the left of the picture) the portion of the LVRT that will be converted and connected to the existing trail head at Cambridge Junction. On the north side of the river the improved trail will continue out to Route 109, adding about a mile of new trail to the existing link between Morristown and Cambridge.  Photo compliments of Over and Above Photography - www.overandabovephoto.com .  To see more images of the project site, visit us on Instagram.
By Don Balcom 29 May, 2017
On Saturday May 27, a beautiful spring morning, the Cambridge Area Rotary Club and Smugglers Notch Resort hosted the first Bike-A-Thon -- a fundraiser to benefit three local organizations: Friends of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, American Legion, Cambridge Post - Mt. Mansfield Post #35 and the Cambridge Area Rotary Club and Foundation. 
Individuals and teams could choose one of three courses along the trail extending from the Cambridge Junction trailhead to  Willow Creek (8 miles roundtrip distance) , Johnson (16 miles) or Morrisville (32 miles).  Sponsors for the event were Lost Nation Brewery and Bootlegger Bikes.  As the riders assembled for a group Jeff Spring,Smugglers Notch, Operations Director, announced that at least $1000 had been raised for the Friends of the LVRT.  For more photos of the event, visit the LVRT's Facebook page and Instagram.  
By Don Balcom 12 May, 2017

The 1st Annual Lamoille Valley Rail Trail Bike-A-Thon will be held on Saturday, May 27th. It is a fundraiser with the goal of raising $3,000 for three great causes: Friends of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, American Legion, Cambridge Post - Mt. Mansfield Post #35 and the Cambridge Area Rotary Club and Foundation. 

Participants will ride their bikes on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail to raise money! It's free and participants can register as individuals or as a team. The event will start at the Cambridge Junction trailhead in Jeffersonville, Vermont and offers riders 3 courses of various lengths. 

Event DetailsWhere: Cambridge Junction Trailhead, Jeffersonville, VT -  When: 9:00am, Saturday, May 27th. To learn more and to register, go to
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lamoille-valley-rail-trail-bike-a-thon-tickets-33434420251  
 or 

https://www.crowdrise.com/Bike-A-Thon

By Shane Prisby 12 May, 2017

With the construction of Bridge 68 underway, it is important to note that there may be an impact on river traffic down the Lamoille River. Paddlers should be aware that the contractor will be building causeways into the river and that there will be periodic overhead work. The bridge has been partially removed and the existing spans are structurally unsound. The current schedule has the contractor removing the existing spans and wooden piers in mid-June. Paddlers coming down the river should stay on the north side of the stone center pier and not pass under the existing bridge spans.

 

The only anticipated restriction of traffic through the worksite will be when the new bridge spans are being set. This work is currently slated for the first week in August. We will issue updates as we get closer to that point. It is important to be safe on the river and follow any instructions given by work crews.


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