News Archive

Beard Recreation Park protected!

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

Beard Swimming Hole

For generations, local residents and visitors of Johnson VT have enjoyed a beautiful, Olympic-sized swimming hole and a beaucolic open field and beach along the Gihon River.  In 2014, as the Beard family prepared to sell it, they contacted the Vermont River Conservancy.  VRC’s mission is to protect public access to the special lands along our waters, and the Beard family wished for public access to be preserved in honor of their parents, Florence and Hubert Beard.

With approximately 600 feet of river frontage, this parcel possesses beautiful shoreline, waterfalls, and swimming spots along the Gihon River. A rock ledge outcropping in the river creates a deep swimming “pool” with an extensive sand and gravel beach – suitable for swimmers of all ages and abilities. The bedrock also forms beautiful waterfalls and cascades in the Gihon River channel.

The property is located on School Street just below the Powerhouse Covered Bridge, within walking distance from the Johnson Elementary School, Johnson State College, the Vermont Studio Center, and the village’s downtown center. On the open market, a private purchaser would very likely have built a house and prohibited public access, given the parcel’s ideal downtown location.

Partnering with the Town of Johnson, the Vermont River Conservancy secured major funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, with additional funds raised from private foundations, local businesses, Johnson State College, and generous local residents.  With so much support for the protection of this beautiful place, the Town of Johnson purchased the property this December, and donated a Conservation Easement to the Vermont River Conservancy.  This land will now forever be accessible to the public as the “Beard Recreation Park.”

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Swimming here on the Gihon River has been enjoyed for generations

Additional funding has been secured from the Lake Champlain Basin Program for VRC to build attractive and sturdy stone steps to improve access from the upper field to the beach and rivers’ edge this coming summer 2016.  When the warmer weather returns, enjoy swimming, picnicking, field games, nature enjoyment, bird watching, fishing, community gatherings, and relaxation at this beautiful place.

Watersheds United Vermont seeks new Coordinator

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

Join Watersheds United Vermont in leading the grassroots effort to improve watershed health across the state.  Watersheds United Vermont (WUV) is a state-wide network of local groups dedicated to the health of their home watersheds. Our mission is to empower community-based watershed groups in all parts of the state to protect and restore Vermont’s waters. Watersheds United Vermont seeks a dynamic and collaborative part-time Coordinator to facilitate networking between our 32 member Watershed Groups, promote resource sharing via in-person and online mediums, share technical information from our 53 state-wide partners, and act as a liaison for state-wide communications.   The new Watersheds United Vermont Coordinator will lead the effort to achieve WUV’s mission, enhance our 2 year track record with additional funding support, and facilitate strategic communications with the VT DEC Water Quality Division.  Now is a pivotal and exciting time in Vermont’s efforts to improve our state-wide water quality.

To learn more about this part-time flexible position, please read the position description available at  www.watershedsunitedvt.org, and send your application to lydia@vermontriverconservancy.org by December 14th, 2015.

50 acres conserved along the Upper Connecticut River

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

The Vermont River Conservancy, collaborating with the Ellingwood-White family, has conserved 50 acres of land along the Upper Connecticut River in Lemington, Vermont – nearly 2/3 of a mile of river frontage! The parcels are adjacent to Holbrook Point, already conserved by the VRC, a project completed with the Ellingwood family in 2013.

Through a unique arrangement, the purchase of the easement allowed the Ellingwood family to simultaneously purchase the lands, ensuring they will remain in productive agricultural use while protecting the vital ecological and public access values associated with the site. The conservation easement allows for continued agricultural and silvicultural use, but prohibits development, protects wetlands, establishes a riparian buffer zone, and prevent river bank modifications.

The easement also permanently protects public access for anglers and other dispersed recreational users and allows for the designation of a site for canoe camping as part of the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail should use at the nearby Holbrook Point campsite exceed its current capacity. Public access to the site is intended to be primarily from the Connecticut River.

This project was funded through a grant from the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund and contributions to the Reggie Ellingwood Memorial fund.

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Help VRC Reach Our Year End Fundraising Goal!

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

The Vermont River Conservancy relies on supporters like you to help us protect special places along Vermont’s rivers and shorelands. We have had a successful start to our Annual Appeal season with a group of generous donors offering to match all donations between now and the end of the year, up to $27,000! This is a truly remarkable opportunity we don’t want to miss out on. Imagine what we can do together to ensure we will have places along our rivers to swim, fish, paddle, or simply listen to the water’s flow – for years to come. Please join us and make your donation today! Thank you! And, check out our year-in-review, and look ahead towards our 2016 projects:

2015-16 VRC Projects

 

Raffle Winners!

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

Thank you to all who supported protected public access to the Gihon River Park in Johnson with the purchase of raffle tickets. We raised over $700 with your donations, and we have 4 prizes to announce:

Louise Cross won the Grand Prize: Four passes to the Jay Peak Pump House
Valentin Gribkoff won the 1 hour massage from Fern Hill Massage
Dave Small won the $25 gift certificate to the Red House gear store, and a ROXY hat
Noel Dodge won the Orah Moore photo cards


Congratulations and Thank You! All prizes will be mailed to the winners this week.

And because of your support, we will all be winners when this beautiful property is protected as a park, for all to enjoy forever. See you there next summer!

Lois-Frey_fall_Beard

Raffle for Beard Swimming Hole!

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

Raffle to protect the Beard Swimming Hole on the Gihon River

Beard Swimming Hole

Beard Swimming Hole on the Gihon River, School Street in Johnson Village, just west of the Power House Bridge

$5 Tickets – Enter to win one of the following great prizes:

Family pass for 4 to the Jay Peak Pump House

$25 gift certificate & hat from the Red House gear shop

Photo cards by Orah Moore

1 hour Fern Hill Massage

Every $5 you donate to VRC for this project = 1 chance to win.  When you donate in increments of $5, we generate and enter your tickets into the raffle.

Public Access is in jeopardy.

Every dollar you donate to VRC for this project will support the permanent protection of public access to the 2 acre parcel and majestic swimming hole on the Gihon River — act now !

Raffle winners chosen on October 22

Many thanks to the generosity of Jay Peak, Red House and Orah Moore of Haymaker Press.

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VRC in the News!

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

VRC Board members Scott Muller and Ryan McCall joined staff to talk with Local 22 & Local 44’s Alaina Pinto about River Cleanup Month, as well as the overall work of VRC. Here are the clips from these live TV interviews: River Cleanup Month Videos.

Why Rivers Matter: We Want to Hear From You!

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Early this summer, the Vermont River Conservancy started handing out postcards to friends and strangers alike, with the simple question: Why do rivers matter to you? We want to hear from people what connects them to rivers, and in turn what connects them to the work we do.

What a gift it is to receive these postcards back! We have received so many, and they have become a source of inspiration, and a reminder that we are doing important work. People have told us rivers make them feel alive, invigorated, refreshed, peaceful, spiritual, playful, contemplative…they have said rivers give us life, provide clean water, make beautiful marks on the landscape…and people have written over and over again that rivers connect them not only to the land, but to each other. Rivers that slowly meander towards their destination, rivers that rush over rocks and swirl back into an eddy, rivers that pulse with the seasons…it is our love of these important waters that connect so many of us.

We want to hear from more of you. Tell us your stories about why rivers matter to you!   Check out our list of protected places along Vermont’s rivers, and go to one of these special places. Sit by a river and write, and let your words float on over to us. Email us at: vrc@vermontriverconservancy.org. Thank you!

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North Branch Cascades River Cleanup 9/26 @ 9:30 am – noon

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

The Vermont River Conservancy is hosting a cleanup along the North Branch in Worcester on Saturday, September 26 9:30 am to noon. We will be focusing on the beautiful “Cascades” section of the river- a well loved stretch for many community members, but also a spot that has accumulated a great deal of trash over the past several years. Please come lend a hand and help us pick up along the shores of the North Branch. VRC will provide refreshments to all the hard-working volunteers. Please email or call Richarda at vrc@vermontriverconservancy.org, 229-0820 to sign-up. Thank you for your help in keeping this a clean, safe and beautiful place to enjoy the North Branch.

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Campsite Construction was a Success!

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Thank you to the 16 volunteers who helped us build a campsite on the Connecticut River! With the help of these hard workers, we installed a privy, picnic table, sign-in box, and signage, and also picked up trash and cleared some weeds.This island was recently conserved by the Vermont River Conservancy and the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust (read more about it here: http://www.vermontriverconservancy.org/…/johnson-farm-island). This project was made possible by a grant from TransCanada Hydro Northeast and other business and individual contributions to the Connecticut River Paddlers’ Trail Stewardship Fund.

Many thanks again to our volunteers, pictured here:

ConnRiverIslands workcrew(web) Jay Ericson

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